The University of Massachusetts Amherst maintains a comprehensive program of student outcomes assessment to serve the campus community in evaluating student learning and program effectiveness.
The Office of Academic Planning and Assessment (OAPA) assists departments and individual faculty members in several areas:
- Developing evaluation plans for new programs, grant proposals, and externally and internally funded projects
- Exploring and articulating student learning outcomes appropriate to a course or program
- Finding useful ways of assessing student success in achieving program goals
- Developing strategies for ongoing reviews of program effectiveness for quality improvement, accreditation, and other purposes
Assessment activities are organized around two main themes: factors affecting student success throughout their "life cycle" at the University (pre-admission, the first-year experience, enrollment, and post-graduate experiences); and the understanding and support of effective learning outcomes (course- and program-based assessment strategies, learning communities). The campus’s assessment program places special emphasis on putting evaluation to work by placing information and insights into the hands of those directly responsible for decisions affecting academic excellence. Support is therefore available for individual faculty members seeking to improve student learning in their courses; to deans, department heads, and other academic leaders with broad curricular responsibility; and to campus leaders who wish to inform planning and resource allocation decisions.
The Office of Academic Planning and Assessment is strongly committed to building assessment capacity throughout the campus, and to building collaborations and working partnerships with other offices with an interest in promoting the excellence of academic programs and the effectiveness of student learning. OAPA’s key collaborators include the Center for Teaching and Faculty Development, the Office of Institutional Research, and a number of Faculty Senate Councils.
Assessment Publications produced by OAPA include topical reports, Assessment Bulletins, presentations, and documents related to student evaluations of teaching.
Assessment Resources include recommendations from the literature, course- and program-based assessment handbooks, and links to assessment efforts at other institutions.
For more information, contact Martha L.A. Stassen, Assistant Provost, Assessment & Educational Effectiveness (413-545-5146; firstname.lastname@example.org)