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Developing Your Assessment Approach

Now that you understand the important differences between benchmarking and assessment, the guiding questions below can help your graduate faculty structure their initial conversations about the Graduate Learning Outcomes Assessment (GLOA) process. To facilitate these initial conversations, programs should consider their core learning competencies. Once a graduate learning outcome is selected, faculty can use the assessment guidance below to develop their GLOA plan and eventual required report. 

Guiding GLOA Questions

What are your program’s most important expectations for knowledge, experiences, and skills needed for success upon degree completion?

Are there specific ways your program is structured to support these primary expectations in terms of course content, course sequencing, skill development within specific courses, co-curricular participation, and experiences (e.g., research design and implementation, composition and/or creative performance, independent vs. collaborative scholarship, etc.)?

What kinds of assessments align with these primary expectations? 

How does your program collectively think about goals from one year to the next, or over a longer cycle? 

Graduate Learning Outcomes Assessment Guidance

Once you have identified the most appropriate assessment approach for your program, graduate faculty should outline learning outcomes in accordance with their field or discipline. The GLOA Process requires one primary learning outcome; graduate faculty can opt to assess additional learning outcomes.

Learning outcomes should be measurable (i.e., through the use of rubrics). Qualitative and/or quantitative data can be used for supporting evidence of your program’s alignment with your stated learning outcome. Faculty can use many data sources: coursework/exams, portfolios, papers/dissertations, exit surveys, interviews, alumni surveys, etc.  

From one year to the next, faculty should reflect on improvements that can be made to their programs based on the results of their GLOA (e.g., adding new courses/workshops, providing important learning opportunities outside of the classroom such as oral or written communication support, etc.). Faculty also should reflect on the GLOA process itself and whether different data needs to be collected and/or a new learning outcome should be assessed for the next GLOA reporting period. 

As you develop your program’s primary graduate learning outcome and the appropriate field-specific assessment, consultants from the Teaching and Learning Transformation Center (TLTC) are available for support. Additionally, the Graduate School and the TLTC will co-host information seminars to provide additional support.

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