Outcomes Assessment

Use the menu to the right to find detailed program outcomes assessment information.

Faculty Resources to Support Assessment
Continuous Improvement Course Level Assessment Support Documents for LAS Faculty
Curriculum Mapping and Planning Guide
Example: Greenlee School Assessment Website
Assessment Commons: Resources for Higher Education Outcomes Assessment
HLC College of Liberal Arts and Sciences SOA

College-Level Assessment Activities
LAS Assessment work addresses four major areas: General Education Assessment, Major/Program Outcomes Assessment, Continuous Improvement Assessment (CIP), and Placement Assessment. Below are highlights from the most recent college assessment report.

I. Assessment of LAS Learning Goals in General Education

Consistent with the University’s promise that students will build their own intellectual adventure at ISU, the college has a distributed general education model designed to allow students to experience the habits of mind and ways of approaching intellectual tasks that are distinctive within the Arts and Humanities, Mathematical and Natural Science Disciplines and the Social Sciences. General Education Learning Goals are listed here.

General Education Course Assessment

While students have many course options within each of these general areas of study, analysis of enrollment patterns makes it clear that a key set of courses provide this intellectual breadth to a large number of ISU students. The High Enrollment CIP Report includes details about some of those larger enrollment courses within each area of learning goals and notes a current assessment project within each course.

Programmatic Assessment of ISUComm

ISUComm is Iowa State’s university-wide program that leads efforts in the teaching and assessment of the University’s Communication Proficiency requirement. The Foundation Communication courses ENGL 150 and 250 use a WOVE Pedagogy (Written, Oral, Visual and Electronic) to prepare twenty-first century communicators. The course uses rubrics to support students and the faculty who work with them to focus on the core communication competencies of multi-modal communication. Students create ePortfolios in the course. English 150 and 250 Outcomes Assessment report.

Programmatic Assessment in the Natural Sciences

Large-scale reform within the natural sciences was driven by assessment. Most striking has been the transformation of science labs from ‘recipe labs’ to inquiry labs.

Among the most important assessments for the college, in terms of general education, is the documented improvement of students on the Student Understanding of Science and Scientific Inquiry (SUSSI). In courses on the general education list, such as Astro 250, Biol 256, Geol 100L, and Chem 201L, there is clear evidence that students are making true gains. Inquiry labs and improving student understanding of the nature of science is a key part of the overall LAS goal that students experience and appreciate scientific and mathematical ways of thinking and generating knowledge.

Programmatic Assessment in Mathematics

Mathematics is another area where assessment has been a key part of curricular transformation. As a provider of general education and required coursework for many programs on campus, the Mathematics department has been focused on identifying pathways to student success. Assessment work in mathematics has led to revision of the ALEKS scores required to be placed in the appropriate math course. The Math Innovations in Instruction report has a brief summary of curricular innovations in Mathematics that have grown out of assessment work in the department.

II. LAS Learning Outcomes of Majors

Each program in the college has identified its learning outcomes for majors and established ways to assess student success. (See program links in right hand column)

Highlights of assessment work of some departments in the college:

The Greenlee School of Journalism in keeping with the expectations of the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC) has fully developed outcomes assessment plan. The school also annually posts results of its direct and indirect measures.

The Department of World Languages and Cultures has several programs within its purview. All of the programs are guided by the Standards for Foreign Language Learning. On its website, each language area shares the programmatic alignment to the standards and the assignments that are used in their assessment of student learning. (See Spanish 101 and 102 for an example of the programmatic alignment of course outcomes).

The Computer Science department, like the math department, has used assessment work to improve and redesign course offerings particularly for courses that are taken by many departments around the university. Recent report of Computer Science assessment activities.

III. Course Level Learning Outcomes

In Spring 2013 the LAS College began work to implement a Continuous Improvement initiative that asks high impact courses to regularly report on the results of assessment in those classes.

In June 2014, 103 LAS courses filed continuous improvement reports with the Provost Office. In June 2015, 150 LAS courses will report, and in June 2016 the assessment reporting system will be fully implemented with over 250 LAS courses making regular reports. Abbreviated summary of CIP report data.

IV. Student Success after ISU

Among the most important outcomes of a university is the success of students after graduation. The strongest feature of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences assessment of student outcomes is made visible in its annual survey of students six months after graduation.

This data is publicly available through LAS College Career Services. LAS reports contain overall college statistics as well as placement data from individual majors. In addition, each major can see a list of recent employers of graduates from their program. A five year rolling average report is also available to help smooth out information gathered from some of our smaller majors.