Academic departmental assessment is discipline specific, and is concerned with learning that is specific to specific degrees and majors (such as biology, nursing, horticulture, etc.) Assessment at this level is meant to inform programs about student learning in their degree programs.
Some academic departments (and programs and colleges) also have specific assessment requirements that are associated with professional accreditation.
Assessment at the baccalaureate level includes inquiry about how integrated academic and life experiences contribute to student learning as the student works to earn a Bachelor’s degree. This includes
- Academic learning, such as coursework, course projects, and special assignments,
- Co-curricular activities, such as sporting events, concerts, symposiums, on campus living, and international exchange,
- Interactions with administrative offices, such as advising, business offices, financial aid, and the health center,
- Work and life-related opportunities, such as co-ops, internships, and work-study.
The environment that surrounds academic life has significant impact on the learning that does, or doesn’t, take place. Co-curricular and administrative assessment considers policies, processes, practices and systems to ensure they are effective in promoting and supporting student learning.
Course-level assessment is used by faculty to gauge how much learning is taking place in their course(s) by measuring the degree to which students demonstrate targeted skills, knowledge and behaviors. Course-level assessment can be focused on specific topics or skills, or on broad learning that spans the semester.
All institutions of higher education in the state of New Mexico offer what is called the “state common core”. This is a core of lower-level courses (100 and 200-level) that promote broad learning across many disciplines and is reflective of the ideals of a liberal arts education. Assessment of general education (GE) is concerned with non-discipline specific learning in the first 2-3 years of the university experience.