Initial Publication Date: April 13, 2015

Program Assessment

When you hear assessment, what do you think? An unfunded mandate? A necessary evil? A hollow administrative exercise? What about a process to help improve your program and demonstrate value to the institution? Assessment is just collecting program data for a specific purpose. Done well, assessment is a positive tool for advocacy (for your department), accountability (to the University and others), affirmation (check that you are doing what you think you're doing), and alignment (with your goals and vision).

Antique Skeleton Keys
Develop an Assessment Plan

Just as an effective research program grows from a carefully thought out research plan, an effective assessment process begins with effective planning.

Learning Cycle
Logic Models

Logic models are conceptual models of how a program works. A well-developed logic model articulates, step by step, how a proposed program will achieve its goals. Developing a logic model is an excellent way to check that your program has a strong design: that is, that the program is likely to achieve its goals. Having a logic model makes program assessment straightforward.

installing a stream gage
Program Metrics and Instruments

When you have articulated the goals and objectives of your program, it's time to think about how, exactly, you will measure your success. For this, you'll need to develop an instrument or group of instruments for collecting the necessary data.

Oxford (England) University Museum of Natural History
Accreditation of Geoscience Programs

Accreditation is a complicated issue with many pros and cons. View community member opinions and contribute to the conversation as well as seeing the stance on accreditation from allied disciplines.