The Office of Assessment and Accreditation undertakes the development and documentation of assessment practices for institutional effectiveness at the program and administrative unit levels, in alignment with the reporting standards of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). We provide institutional support for assessment planning, reporting, development of strategies and processes, and assessment requirements established by SACSCOC as they pertain to academic and administrative units.

The program assessment process involves evaluating academic programs and major administrative units throughout the University annually.  This systematic assessment of programs ensures that student learning is prioritized and benefits students, and that educational and support efforts are effective.

Academic Program Assessment

Each academic program leading to a degree, diploma, or certificate is required to submit an annual Program Assessment Report (PAR) in the fall. These PARs include Program Outcomes, Student Learning Outcomes, and Improvement Strategies. All of these components align with both university and department/program missions. There is a distinction between Program and Student Learning Outcomes:

Program Outcomes are components that relate to the structure, administration, and support services offered by the program. They serve to meet institutional, regional, and accreditation/assessment expectations and improve the quality of the programs as a whole. Examples of Program Outcomes include: enrollment trends, admission selectivity, graduation rates, publications by faculty/students, selected items from student satisfaction surveys, and job placement.

Student Learning Outcomes focus on assessing how well students are learning. Student Learning Outcomes assess major knowledge, skills, values, and behaviors taught in the discipline and that are achieved upon completion of the program. These achievement outcomes inform faculty and program leaders for teaching effectiveness, curriculum design, and academic support services. The ultimate goal of the assessment findings is to develop specific strategies to directly improve the quality of education the students receive. Examples of student learning outcomes include: knowledge of the discipline, use of technology, critical thinking skills, and written/oral communication skills.

Be advised that for the 2016 PARs, advanced communication skills, including writing skills, will be a required Student Learning Outcome.

Administrative Assessment

Administrative assessment encompasses annual reports in the fall for “non-academic” units at the University. As with academic programs, the mission of the administrative units should align with the mission of the University. These areas include administrative support services, academic and student support services, university-wide research units, and areas that provide community service.

General Education Assessment

The University of Miami’s General Education Requirements ensure that graduates have acquired essential intellectual skills and have engaged in a range of academic disciplines.  With cognates replacing distribution requirements in general education, the University Curriculum Committee has endorsed a new process to measure outcomes in Arts & Humanities, People & Society, and STEM cognates. This evidence driven data collection and analysis will assist our office in determining the competencies attained by undergraduates. Courses included in one or more cognates are being sampled each semester and selected instructors are asked to evaluate student achievement in relation to specific learning outcomes.  The new CoursEval assessments, administered online, replace the combination of rubrics and low-stakes tests in general education. The first set of data was collected in the fall of 2015.

By the same token, the Quantitative Reasoning (QR) test that has been administered since 2008 will also be replaced in AY 2017 with another direct measure linked to student performance in the classroom.

Student Learning Outcomes in English Composition continue to be assessed annually by the Composition faculty.

For more information on General Education Assessment please feel to contact our team at (305) 284-4714.

Don’t forget to check the Assessment Documents and Resources link below for your convenience.

Assessment Tools

UM’s Office of Planning, Institutional Research, and Assessment has designed templates, guidelines, and reference documents based on best practices in assessment to make available to program contacts to support the academic and non-academic program assessment process.