Instructional programs (IPs) contribute directly to student learning or instruction. At UMMC, each degree program constitutes an educational program for institutional effectiveness purposes.
IPs participate in assessment activities to reveal what students are learning and how well they are learning. The assessment process is an on-going process that measures student acquisition of pre-defined proficiencies, knowledge, values, and desired virtues. Data are used to assure that students have attained competencies which enable them to be workforce ready and qualified to fulfill the performance expectations of their profession upon graduation from the institution. Assessment provides data to inform decision-making and to guide program development for the benefit of students and community. “Institutional Effectiveness” (IE) is thereby, demonstrated and documented when instructional programs monitor (and record) progress toward accomplishing their stated purpose or goals.
Assessment information is used as a guide to support policy, procedure or curriculum changes. It is through assessment parents, future employers, future patients, and local-/national stakeholders, are assured that training programs articulate expected capabilities of graduates and appraise student performance for continued enrichment of the learning experience.
In demonstrating student learning, programs sample academic performance at different points during the course of study. Artifacts of learning are examined and faculty gauge whether thresholds of achievement are being met. Data is interpreted and actions are implemented to advance the acquisition of student knowledge and ability. At UMMC, programs utilize two bodies of evidence (measures) per stated outcome to demonstrate that students are approaching, meeting, or exceeding criteria for success. The data that are derived from these measures serves to shape educational strategies, tactics, and technologies. Methods of assessment include but are not limited to performance on written quizzes/tests, skills examinations, licensing boards, and rubric evaluations of oral and written communication proficiency. Student productivity related to the publication of research and scholarly work, the presentation of findings at local/national meetings and the attainment of awards and recognitions is also tracked.
While courses and programs monitor grades that students earn, summative judgements (final grades or P/F grades) are not taken alone as a means of appraising levels of learning or elements of knowledge/skill. Programs are charged with identifying multiple criteria that represent core domains of professional activity and discipline-based values. Student proficiency, attitudes, and perceptions within these areas are analyzed, and results are used to inform steps for directed programmatic development or enrichment.
Assessment plans are reported predominantly by program directors at UMMC. However, all faculty who contribute to teaching and to curriculum design are expected to be aware of how students are assessed and to have input on the way outcome results are measured, interpreted, and used for continuous improvement. As such, faculty take part in the development of assessment methods, assist in the establishment and implementation of continuous quality improvement initiatives, participate in data collection, and support the documentation of outcome attainment. Discussions focused on student learning-, student achievement- and program operational outcomes are typically held in departmental faculty meetings or school/program-based curriculum committee meetings.