Description of an Assessment Process

Many aspects of exemplary assessment processes are unique to the individual goals and culture of the specific department or program. A good description of the process not only provides a model for other programs (and permission to revise and use), it also provides a record for future department chairs, assistants and coordinators of the rationale behind the development of the process. Rather than attempting a complete and perfect assessment process, breaking down the process into steps allows departments to work with the process step-by-step. In the end, this shows an ownership of the process.

The following PEAR example shows how a large and complex program can organize for assessment.


Step 1: Examine the P.E.A.R. Mission Statement and define Departmental Goals

The mission of the P.E.A.R. Department at Carleton College is to promote the self-realization of the students through regularized activity and positive social interaction with a strong emphasis on health, fitness and skill development. This outcome is achieved through a variety of opportunities appropriate to a wide range of student interests and abilities.

Departmental goals derived from the P.E.A.R. Mission Statement:

Carleton College students who have participated in and have successfully completed Carleton P.E.A.R. programs should:

  1. Develop self-realization and a positive self-image.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of the benefits (short-term and long-term) of regular activity and have specific strategies of accomplishing personal goals related to health and fitness.
  3. Exhibit skill and fitness development as well as understand specific methods for self-testing and assessment.
  4. Understand and be able to use strategies, rules and terminology associated with specific physical activities.
  5. Appreciate and value positive social dynamics and group collaboration in connection to physical activities.

Step 2: Determine Student Learning Outcomes

Student Learning Outcomes that emerged from Departmental goals: 

Carleton students who participate in P.E.A.R. sponsored programs should experience:

  1. Skill acquisition – students should perceive and realize some level of skill improvement
  2. Knowledge – enhanced understanding of rules, principles and strategies
  3. Self-realization and behavior changes – enjoyment, improved self-confidence along with both short-term and long-term habitual changes with regard to exercise

Step 3: Design assessment tools to measure SLO’s and implement their use

Planned measures to examine evidence of learning outcomes:

  • Student surveys – Senior Survey (college) & current student survey (department).
  • Rubrics based on instructor observations (with definitions of categories indicating student proficiency and expected levels of achievement).

Implementation of assessment measures:

  • Rubrics*:
    • For P.E. classes of full-time faculty/staff. At the beginning of each term (within two weeks of start date) and near the end of each respective class (within final two weeks of end date). Observable measures will be performed at a rate of two P.E. courses per year per full-time faculty/staff so that all courses taught by each faculty/staff (assuming a 6 course/year teaching load) will be assessed within a three-year cycle.
    • For varsity sports of full-time faculty/staff who serve as head coaches. Assessment will occur during the first season for all first-year students and again when they are seniors in their final season of the same sport.

*Rubrics are being created for use in Fall Term 2010

  • Surveys (current PEAR student survey and College sponsored Senior Survey):
    • At conclusion (ninth week/end of season) of each course/season;
    • As an inclusive part of the Senior Survey.

Step 4: Reporting and collection of data

This area is still a work in progress.

  • Data from rubrics and surveys will be reported/submitted within two weeks of the conclusion of the academic term for classes and the end of the competition season for each varsity program. Data will be collected via online forms found on the P.E.A.R. web site. The reporting process for both rubrics and survey measures is still in design but will be ready for fall 2010.
  • Athletics Associate will receive data for compilation.

Step 5: Analysis and interpretation of data

  • Work in Progress – We will communicate with Institutional Research and Assessment (IRA) to devise an effective method to analyze data collected.

Step 6: Short-term & long-term planning stages

For the 2010-2011 academic year, we intend to initiate the collection of data from full-time faculty/staff for both classes and varsity athletic programs. Data from student surveys will be collected for both classes and varsity programs at the conclusion of each respective term and athletic season. The information gathering process along with the analyses will be shared and discussed among all full-time faculty and staff within the PEAR department each term throughout the multi-year assessment process.