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Program Evaluation and Assessment: Integrating Methods, Process, and Culture
Unformatted Document Text:  thinking creatively about how one can mine the data. Traditional data provides the opportunity to compare the program to the university on items like retention, major migration patterns, graduation rates, number of transfer students, number employed following graduation, number enrolling in graduate or professional programs, and number doing internships, service learning, undergraduate research and studying abroad. It is also important to identify any university-wide assessment instruments that the program has not paid much attention to. For example, if the university uses any of the nationally recognized surveys for incoming freshman or student engagement, the department can use them for very productive evaluations of the types of students in the program, their backgrounds, habits, and expectations. While these are not direct measures of student learning outcomes, they provide important information for understanding how students approach learning. Some of the engagement surveys have numerous questions about students’ study practices, class preparation habits, and faculty-student interaction opportunities that would be very helpful to review. Even if the data is a sample of the whole campus and data is not broken down to the program level, it still can be a very helpful place to start the program’s review. Getting the university to provide data on the program’s students may be viable especially if it is possible to aggregate several years of data to create an acceptable number of respondents from the major. It is also an option to tap some of the same dimensions in a locally developed departmental survey from which program data could then be compared to the campus and national data. Program purposes – Statement of goals and objectives Accreditors usually expect departments to begin with a statement of goals and objectives about the intended purposes and expected results of the program. Goals are considered broader and more general. Objectives are supposed to target specific learning outcomes that the program 9

Authors: Young, Candace.
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thinking creatively about how one can mine the data. Traditional data provides the opportunity
to compare the program to the university on items like retention, major migration patterns,
graduation rates, number of transfer students, number employed following graduation, number
enrolling in graduate or professional programs, and number doing internships, service learning,
undergraduate research and studying abroad. It is also important to identify any university-wide
assessment instruments that the program has not paid much attention to. For example, if the
university uses any of the nationally recognized surveys for incoming freshman or student
engagement, the department can use them for very productive evaluations of the types of
students in the program, their backgrounds, habits, and expectations. While these are not direct
measures of student learning outcomes, they provide important information for understanding
how students approach learning. Some of the engagement surveys have numerous questions
about students’ study practices, class preparation habits, and faculty-student interaction
opportunities that would be very helpful to review. Even if the data is a sample of the whole
campus and data is not broken down to the program level, it still can be a very helpful place to
start the program’s review. Getting the university to provide data on the program’s students may
be viable especially if it is possible to aggregate several years of data to create an acceptable
number of respondents from the major. It is also an option to tap some of the same dimensions
in a locally developed departmental survey from which program data could then be compared to
the campus and national data.
Program purposes – Statement of goals and objectives
Accreditors usually expect departments to begin with a statement of goals and objectives
about the intended purposes and expected results of the program. Goals are considered broader
and more general. Objectives are supposed to target specific learning outcomes that the program
9


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