Date Enacted or Revised: Replaced the Academic Program and Administrative Unit Master Plan Policy May 16, 2018; Revised April 30, 2019; January 19, 2021
This policy affirms the University’s responsibility to engage in ongoing, comprehensive, and systematic assessment and to establish clear, consistent, and sustainable processes for doing so. The University must engage in an institutional effectiveness process that determines the extent to which the University operates within and fulfills its mission. Assessment processes described herein ensure the University’s ability to meet the requirements set forth by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), including Core Requirement 7.1 (institutional planning), Standard 7.3 (administrative effectiveness), and Standard 8.2 (student outcomes).
Definition and Scope
Assessment is the process of measuring the degree of success relative to a stated outcome at all levels of work. Assessment in higher education should demonstrate that the institution reflects on the quality and efficacy of its programs and services, uses the assessment results to improve decision-making processes, and, if necessary, changes the means or methodologies utilized to deliver those programs and services.
This policy applies to all academic and administrative units of the University. In addition to planning for the unit, each academic department must also assess student learning at the program and course levels, as well as contribute to the assessment of all institution-wide student learning efforts, including general education.
Everyone at McNeese is responsible for contributing to the assessment process. The Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness (IRE) coordinates the assessment process and communicates results to the campus on an ongoing basis.
Assessment begins with faculty and staff determining the goals and objectives of their units and academic programs. Academic program coordinators, department heads, and supervisors must oversee the assessment process and ensure that reports are submitted in a timely manner. Assessment reports will be reviewed and approved by everyone in the division up to and including the respective vice president. These individuals must also act on reasonable recommendations provided in these assessment reports in an effort toward continuous improvement.
Academic Program Assessment
Academic program assessment requires faculty to determine appropriate student learning outcomes at the program and course levels. Individual assignments and exams that demonstrate student learning are examples of appropriate academic assessments; end of term course grades are not appropriate assessments of student learning. Faculty should keep assessment data and student artifacts for a period of at least three years. At the end of each semester, faculty should submit student learning data to the academic program coordinator and department head for inclusion in the assessment report. Programs that are offered both face-to-face and through distance learning should disaggregate all assessment data between students in the face-to-face program and students in the online program.
Annual academic program assessment reports should be completed in the Xitracs Portal the Friday before Spring commencement exercises. Upon review and approval by all department heads, deans, and the provost and vice president for academic affairs and enrollment management, IRE will post these reports on the Assessment Reports webpage.
Unit assessment requires academic department heads and unit heads to determine appropriate performance objectives. These objectives should relate directly to the institutional mission as well as the mission of the respective unit.
Annual unit assessment reports for both academic and non-academic units for the previous year should be completed in the Xitracs Portal by July 15. Upon review and approval by the appropriate supervisor(s) and vice president, IRE will post these reports on the Assessment Reports webpage.
General Education Assessment
The General Education Assessment Council (GEAC) is responsible for ongoing review of the General Education Core Curriculum and related outcomes assessment. All courses in the General Education Core Curriculum must assess one of the University’s three student learning outcomes: communication, problem solving, or personal and professional development.
At the end of each semester, department heads or program coordinators responsible for general education courses must complete the General Education and QEP Course Section Summary Form. A representative sample of student artifacts (10% of the total enrollment in the course) should be uploaded to the course section summary form for courses in the English Composition, Humanities, Fine Arts, and Social/Behavioral Sciences areas.
At the end of each semester, department heads or program coordinators must ensure that a representative sample of student artifacts from capstone courses (10% of the total enrollment in the course) are submitted to IRE through the Capstone Artifact Submission Form.
Each year, IRE coordinates the direct assessment of student artifacts from general education courses and capstone courses.
Further information about general education assessment can be found in the
Assessment of Institutional Strategic Initiatives
Other institutional strategic initiatives, such as the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) required by SACSCOC, may require academic departments and units to submit additional assessment information related to the achievement of institutional goals. The timeline for these assessments will be communicated through IRE, and IRE will work to ensure that these timelines align with existing processes.
Assessment, Commencement, and Evaluation (ACE) Week
At the end of the Spring semester, between the end of final exams and Spring commencement exercises, all academic staff will be required to participate in Assessment, Commencement, and Evaluation (ACE) Week. During ACE Week, academic staff should complete general education assessment, QEP assessment, academic program assessment reports, and annual performance reviews (APRs) prior to leaving for the summer break.
IRE staff will develop and distribute a tentative schedule for ACE Week at the beginning of the Spring semester and will be available to assist departments as needed through ACE Week.
This policy is distributed via the Academic Advisory Council, Administrative Advisory Council, and the University Policies webpage.