Assessment Committee

In collaboration with the University Assessment Committee, CAS Dean's office and CAC, the College of Arts and Sciences Assessment Committee (CASAC) is faculty-led and focused on assisting administrators, faculty, staff and programs in building systems to evaluate student learning from programmatic perspectives.

  • Assessment Committee Members

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    John Dunn, English [email protected]

    You Li, Communication, Media & Theatre Arts [email protected]

    Amanda Maher, History and Philosophy [email protected], co-chair

    Tricia McTague, Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology [email protected]

    Laura Pawuk, Music and Dance [email protected]

    Greg Plagens, Political Science [email protected], co-chair

    Angela Staples, Psychology [email protected]

    Department Heads

    Natalie Dove, Psychology [email protected]

    Mehmet Yaya, Economics [email protected]

    Associate Dean

    James Egge [email protected]

  • Suggested Procedures for 2021-22

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    Since 2012, the College of Arts & Sciences has sustained a faculty-led effort to assess student learning from programmatic perspectives in order to continuously improve our programs and the opportunities students have for learning. Because conditions for teaching and learning continue to be unusual this year, we have elected to provide choices for how your program might engage in assessing student learning, and for what you report. We will be happy to answer questions or to meet with your program or department.

    Please choose one or more of the following suggestions and let us know what you have decided by December 2 by emailing Greg Plagens ([email protected], subject line: “Assessment Plans”).

    1. Direct Assessment of Student Learning

    Continue with the program’s current assessment process and practices: Submit a report on how student learning was assessed in 2020-21 and describe the plans for 2021-22. (CASAC will send the revised template.)

    2. Indirect Assessment of Student Learning: Focus on Students’ Experiences

    Meet with your colleagues and discuss how students have responded, or are responding, to various formats of instruction offered this academic year, particularly in terms of how well students appear to be meeting the program’s learning outcomes or goals.

    • Since nearly 80% of courses are currently delivered in some type of online format, what opportunities and challenges are students experiencing?
    • How have students adjusted? How well are students meeting the program’s learning outcomes or goals?
    • Provide aggregate data, composite sketches, or specific examples.

    3. Indirect Assessment of Student Learning: Focus on Instruction

    Meet with your colleagues and discuss instructional approaches and strategies that appear to have enhanced how well students are meeting program learning outcomes or goals.

    • Since nearly 80% of courses are currently delivered in some type of online format, what opportunities and challenges have faculty experienced, or are experiencing?
    • How have faculty adjusted? What innovations or improvements have you observed, particularly in terms of students’ achievements toward meeting the program’s learning outcomes or goals?
    • Provide aggregate, composite sketches, or specific examples.

    4. Program’s Choice of a Different Approach

    If none of the above fits with your program’s plan to reflect on assessing student learning, describe an approach you plan to use for this academic year, and describe how the plan will encourage faculty to reflect on how well students are meeting program learning outcomes or goals.

  • About Assessment

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    What is  Assessment?

    Assessment is the process of discovering what students are learning, determining if actual learning meets expectations, and ultimately working to improve future learning opportunities for students. We can ask three important questions: What are our expectations for student learning? Do we have evidence of that learning? How can we use that evidence to make changes that improve student learning ("close the loop")? 

    Why is Assessment of Student Learning important?

    Conducting regular assessment  is important for several reasons. First and foremost, it is important  to improve individual student learning as well as to continuously improve academic programs. It is also important to be able to publicly indicate what learning is achieved in courses and programs. Finally, the criteria for accreditation, as articulated by the Higher Learning Commission, includes a demonstrated "commitment to educational achievement and improvement through ongoing assessment of student learning" (criterion 4b); in order to receive accreditation, EMU must be able to show that there is a systematic process in place for assessment of student learning. "Why Assessment" (from the University of Connecticut) provides more details about the importance of assessment.

    How often do faculty conduct programmatic assessment?

    CAS is on a yearly assessment cycle, with a combined report and plan due in October each year. 

    Where do I begin?

    Begin at the end! Assessment always starts with creating faculty approved student learning outcomes - what will students be able to know or do at the end of a course or program?. The University of Connecticut's Assessment Primer contains detailed guidelines and information on writing learning outcomes, planning for assessment, creating curriculum maps, and more.

  • Resources

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    Assessment at EMU

    Assessment, general

    Principles of Assessment - Principles of good practice for assessing student learning, from the National Institute of Learning Outcomes Assessment - Make sure to scroll down to see all the resources.

    Association for the Assessment of Learning in Higher Education - Housed at the University of Kentucky the AALHE is a clearinghouse of resources for those interested in improving student learning. There is an open access area where anyone can post and share documents that describe successful assessment practices in any discipline.

    Higher Learning Commission: The Criteria for Accreditation and Core Components - Criterion 4b related to evaluation and assessment is included here.

    Student Assessment of Learning Gains (SALG) - A free course evaluation tool that allows instructors to gather learning focused feedback on individual courses and programs. This is a great tool if your assessment plans include collecting indirect indicators of student learning.

    Presentation Materials from Jennifer Fager's workshop, presented at the October 31, 2014 University Assessment Forum

    Presentations from the 2014 Assessment Institute:

    What are our peers doing? Assessment practices and resources from Michigan Higher Learning Commission accredited institutions:


    Examples of discipline specific student learning outcomes, assessment planning and reporting can be found at these sites.

Portal for submission of plans and reports

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