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Academic Affairs Office

Creating an Assessment Method

Assessment quantitatively shows the Academic Standards  we define for our courses, programs, and institution and how effectively they are being attained and maintained.

The purpose of assessment methods is to find out how well your students are achieving the skills and knowledge taught in your courses or your program.

Creating & Teaching Student Learning Outcomes

All instructors should be teaching the Student Learning Outcomes specified by their department. Typically, 4 to 6 Outcomes should be identified. These are not goals or objectives, which suggest what is hoped to be obtained, but rather are the deliverables of the course - if the student is becoming competent in these Outcomes is what assessment shows us. The Outcomes most likely will be different for General Education Core Curriculum Courses, for Undergraduate Majors,  for Graduate Programs, and for co-curricular programs.

However, they will share similarities and will reflect the more encompassing Institutional Student Learning Outcomes, which are stated on this page, and in the New Mexico Tech Course Catalog.

New Mexico Tech Institute-Wide Student Learning Outcomes

New Mexico Tech bases its curricula and its co-curricular activities on the following student learning outcomes; we continuously assess the level of achievement our students demonstrate in these outcomes. NMT students will:

General Education Core Curriculum Courses

The General Education Core Curriculum Courses must have Student Learning Outcomes that also reflect the New Mexico Higher Education Department General Education Core Competencies. 

The New Mexico Higher Education Department General Education Core Competencies can be found at the following websites:

Student Learning Evaluations (http://w17.nmt.edu/student-learning-evaluations)

http://www.hed.state.nm.us/institutions/general-education-core-comptencies-assessment.aspx

Student Learning Outcomes as determined by your department should be listed on your syllabus and discussed with your students so they know what they are expected to be learning in the course and program.

If you have course-specific Outcomes, you should also list these on your syllabus. These should relate to the departmental Student Learning Outcomes, and students should be directed to both sets of Outcomes with the explanation that this is what the course will be teaching and this is what they are expected to learn.

Student Learning Outcomes

Student Learning Outcomes should:

An example of the above suggestions is the New Mexico Tech Institute-Wide Student Learning Outcomes 

Suggestions for Creating an Assessment Method

For reporting assessment results for the New Mexico Tech General Education Core Curriculum courses, department undergraduate Majors, department Graduate Programs, and co-curricular programs, each department or program must establish a standard assessment method.

An effective assessment method is used to calculate what percentage of your students are learning what you are teaching (the Student Learning Outcomes).

Another way of viewing this is the average ability by percentage that  students are achieving this outcome. Some suggestions for doing so are:

Finding Ways to Increase Student Competence in Outcomes

Adjusting teaching methods is, of course, one way. Doing so requires examination of current instructional methods and researching and discussing with other educators other pedagogical methods. The Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning, Speare 113, is a place for such resources and a place to work and meet with other instructors.

Using technology, researching learning methods, trying constructivist or discovery-based teaching techniques, and offering more chances for collaboration may be some methods to consider.

On a program level, consider ways that the program design might be adapted to what you are discovering from the evaluations.

However, learning and student success also happen outside the classroom, so co-curricular activities and support services designed for students should be encouraged by instructors and departments.

How Co-Curricular Activities and Support Services Can Impact Student Learning

Collaboration and community building are ways students can help each other succeed. Departmental activities that include both faculty and students might result in student academic success. You can encourage students to:

Why Grades are not an Assessment Method

Final grades are not an assessment method as they typically result from the student’s overall and final performance in a course. Other factors may contribute to this grade, such as insufficient attendance, that are not Learning Outcomes to be evaluated.

Test or assignment grades typically reveal a comprehensive set of skills and knowledge and usually do not measure one specific Learning Outcome, nor are they a reflection of the student’s ability by the end of the course.

Tracking Trends in Student Learning

After your department has established an assessment method and is gathering quantifiable data on student achievement of the Learning Outcomes, your department should then begin tracking the data for each Outcome each year, looking for trends and considering methods to help a greater percentage of students to achieve the Outcomes, inspiring and moving them to skill and knowledge mastery.

For more information, or to discuss any of this information, contact Mary Dezember, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, New Mexico Tech.