Academic Program Assessment

Academic Program Assessment was institutionalized as an academic priority with the 1999 Academic Senate policy on program assessment. In 2002 the senate policy was revised to integrate four separate Academic Senate documents regarding assessment. Since that time, departments have developed assessment plans, and they report their progress toward enacting their plans to APD.

The status of assessment varies across departments. Most departments now have a full assessment cycle. That is, they have an assessment plan; they draw data regularly and analyze the data, and they make changes based on their findings. Departments that have assessed all SLOs and are confident that their curriculum is effective are encouraged to undertake focused mini-studies. Department timelines for reporting on assessment activities vary from 12-18 months.

Assessment Report Templates

What are the purposes of assessment?

  1. To understand the extent a program achieves its objectives and outcomes in order to inform:
    • program planning
    • decision-making to improve the program
    • revisions of program objectives
    • resource allocation and budget requests.
  2. To report program progress and results to audiences such as faculty, deans, the provost, external accrediting bodies, colleagues in other programs and at other institutions, and current and prospective students.

Student Learning Outcomes (SLO)

Learning outcomes are succinct, measurable statements that describe the knowledge, skills, understandings, and/or attitudes students will possess upon achievement of that outcome. Attention is focused on the specific types of understanding that students are expected to demonstrate.

Methods of Assessment

All departments are encouraged to develop assessment practices that are consonant with their own philosophies of teaching and learning. Science and social science disciplines typically use a quantitative social science model, while creative arts and humanities often take a qualitative approach. The use of both quantitative and qualitative data is encouraged.

Assessment methods consist of a variety of data collection strategies designed to measure the attainment of outcomes. All assessment plans should have at least 1 direct measure of student learning, along with indirect measures. Good assessment plans include details regarding the methods used to gather information in order to fully convey that department's process. In addition, samples of any rubrics, questionnaires, skill exams etc. used in assessment should be attached for clarity.

Assessment strategies and methods may include these strategies or a combination of them:

  • Assignments in capstone courses
  • Case studies
  • Content analysis (e.g., writing samples, papers, fieldwork or internship evaluations)
  • Departmental exams and essays specifically designed to examine a particular outcome
  • Focus groups, Interviews (e.g., midpoint, exit)
  • Matrices (e.g., charts summarizing relationships between program objectives & courses)
  • Course assignments or course syllabi
  • Portfolios, Performance Based Assessments
  • Reflective Essays
  • Scoring Rubrics (i.e., holistic rating sheets for student products, performances, portfolios)
  • Standardized Examinations
  • Student Projects (e.g., junior or senior projects)

Assessment Reports

SF State Assessment Office resources

Non SF State Resources on Program Assessment

(415) 338-2206

Division of Undergraduate Education and Academic Planning
ADM 447 | San Francisco State University | 1600 Holloway Avenue | San Francisco, CA 94132