The purpose of assessment at Binghamton University is “to improve student learning and operational outcomes.” Binghamton’s approach to a comprehensive and meaningful system of learning assessment reflects the complexity of learning outcomes to be measured, and the unique needs of its diverse academic programs. Student learning outcomes (SLO) includes course assessment, program assessment and general education outcomes assessment. Assessment in operational units entails systematic and ongoing method of using measured outcomes, gathering, analyzing and using information about an operational unit, in order to improve outputs, increase efficiencies, and/or enhance customer satisfaction.
Based on a foundational premise that the primary purpose of the assessment system is to improve student learning and operational outcomes, Office of the Provost supports faculty and staff who serve at the center of the process to determine the most appropriate data-based methods for their respective units.
This webpage contains Binghamton’s strategies for establishing and maintaining a culture of learning outcomes assessment and operational outcomes on our campus and exists primarily for the use of Binghamton faculty, students, and administrators.
Student Learning Outcomes Assessment
Student learning outcomes (SLO) are statements that describe what students will take away from a class or program after completing all course work and learning experiences. Well-articulated learning outcomes clarify what faculty/administrator wants students to learn and how the assessment should be conducted.
Binghamton University assesses the extent to which its students meet program-level student learning outcomes and uses Weave (assessment management software) to document, report and archive all assessment activities. As part of the process, faculty members and program coordinators from each academic program identify expected SLOs for program completion, and map the outcomes to the courses or venues in which students are expected to acquire the required knowledge or skill. Reporting occurs annually and is required to submit via Weave.
The Ten Steps Learning Outcomes Assessment Approach
- Step 1: Organize for assessment. Identify key players, form committees, distribute responsibilities.
- Step 2: Define/refine program mission aligned with School/College/Department.
- Step 3: Define/refine Program/unit goals aligned with School/College/Departments.
- Step 4: Articulate learning outcome statements.
- Step 5: Define/refine assessment methods/strategies.
- Step 6: Identify criterion for success or target achievement.
- Step 7: Assess and analyze the findings.
- Step 8: Submit assessment results for review to respective committees.
- Step 9: Devise action plans for continuous improvement.
- Step 10: Incorporate the feedback to the assessment plan and reassess.
Operational Unit Outcomes Assessment
Binghamton University assessment procedures require every unit on campus to work toward continuous improvement during each annual assessment cycle. Operational units contribute to the success of the institutional mission and the Road Map Strategic Plan. Working toward strategic priorities and goals allows each operational unit to share in the achievement of institutional effectiveness, as well as greater efficiency and customer satisfaction.
OIRA works collaboratively with each office, providing guidance and support as an assessment plan is developed, implemented, and the process and findings documented. The office mission statement, goals and outcomes are reviewed (or developed if they do not yet exist) and serve as the basis and framework for the assessment.
The Five Steps Operational Unit Assessment Approach
- Step 1: Define/refine unit mission, goals, outcomes.
- Step 2: Develop assessment methods/measures/strategies.
- Step 3: Collect data using the new/existing methods/measures.
- Step 4: Analyze data, document the findings, devise action plans.
- Step 5: Use findings and action plans for continuous improvement.
Binghamton University uses Weave, an online assessment management system, to document, track, and archive assessment activities across the campus. Weave is available for faculty and staff (responsible for program/unit assessment) to use for the documentation of assessment plans, results for academic and instructional programs, and operations and support service programs of the University. The Weave software allows users to document cyclical assessment processes, and to upload supporting documentation in one easily accessible location.