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Principles of Assessment in HSS

Principles for the Assessment of Learning Outcomes

in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences

at The College of New Jersey

1.       Assessment of learning outcomes is discipline-based.  What works (and how it works) for one department may not work for another.  However, we can all learn from one another’s approaches.

2.       Assessment must be useful to the faculty in the given department: it must help you understand your own curricular practices and improve them.

3.       Assessment must address the most important learning outcomes as articulated in the department’s mission statement as linked to the missions of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and the College.

4.       Assessment must be multi-dimensional: it cannot consist of a single “high-stakes” experience.  It may include quantitative data (e.g., percentage of students successfully articulating a thesis statement in a senior capstone paper), qualitative data (including analysis of student attitudes and beliefs), and enumerative data (e.g., the number of students in the major in each cohort year, the number of students in each graduating class who go on to law school).

5.       Assessment must not be unduly burdensome:  All students in a given major may be asked (or required) to participate in a survey or test that can be administered and evaluated by computer, while a random sampling of student work can be assessed by hand according to a rubric.

6.       Assessment tasks and surveys must be integrated into the academic program so that students have an incentive to complete them (surveys) and do their best on them (tasks).

7.       Every department must complete an assessment plan that provides for the annual collection and analysis of data as well as reflection, including discussion at a faculty meeting, on that analysis, culminating in a report of roughly 2-5 pages in length.  (For instance, data could be collected in the spring semester, analyzed over the summer, discussed in a faculty meeting in the fall, culminating in a report submitted no later than December 15).  Instructions for annual reports can be found at: Assessment plans must be developed after the completion of the strategic plan and mission statement.

8.      Departmental assessment reports are posted to the HSS Planning and Assessment Report website once they have been approved by the HSS Learning Outcomes Assessment Committee (LOAC) in the spirit of transparency.