Program-level assessment gives members of academic departments or programs the opportunity to ask: What and how is our department/program (i.e., major or minor) contributing to the learning and development of our students as a group? It’s a systematic process for looking at student work or other evidence of student achievement across courses or an entire major.
Program assessment takes into account not only the academic components of the department/program but also support services such as advising. Ideally, it’s an opportunity for faculty to engage in an ongoing conversation about how their courses relate holistically to the goals of the department/program. Ultimately, both students and faculty can benefit from the process.
Like course-level assessment, program-level assessment is an iterative process that provides faculty with a framework to examine present and future educational offerings. The process itself is analogous to that of course-level assessment—identifying program learning goals, aligning goals with the curriculum, gathering evidence of student learning, interpreting the evidence, and using the evidence for improvement. A key distinction between the two processes is that program-level assessment requires the collective engagement of faculty during all steps in the process.