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Design Step 3: Establish Timeline


  • Develop a 3-5-year schedule, working backwards from the Program Review cluster schedule. Plan backwards to schedule assessment of one-or-two PLOs per each academic year leading up to the self-review due date.

When will you assess?

Establish a timeline to promote sustainability and meaning

When we place student learning at the center of our assessment activities, we prioritize regular and systematic inquiry into the conditions and practices that promote learning. Regular program assessment will provide faculty and staff with information to make decisions in a more timely and effective manner. Regular assessment allows programs to identify and address barriers to student success in a more timely manner. Assess early and often

"Assessments conducted just once every five or ten years take more time in the long run because there is a good chance that no one will remember, find the documentation for, or understand the rationale behind the last assessment. ... Imagine trying to balance your checking account once a year rather than every month—or your students cramming for a final rather than studying over an entire term—and you can see how difficult and frustrating infrequent assessments can be, compared to those conducted routinely” (Suskie, 2018, p. 99). 


Program learning outcomes assessment is a team sport. To ensure that the process is meaningful and that it yields valid and actionable information, program assessment requires participation by faculty, staff, and students. 

Assessment is a team sport!

In order to produce valid, actionable, and meaningful information, program outcomes assessment is most effective when many faculty participate in the process. While each program will determine its own best configuration, consider the following suggestions for sharing the responsibilities:

  • Establish a working group of colleagues who are willing to coordinate, implement, and report the results of program assessment. 

  • To support sustainability, consider asking people to serve two-to-three year overlapping terms.