A renewed focus on learning outcomes at Penn State

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State’s renewed focus on student learning assessment has led to significant, institution-wide improvements in the way assessment is conducted, with the ultimate goal of improving the student educational experience. The assessment process is managed by the Office of Planning and Assessment (OPA).  

OPA, which encompasses the new Department of Learning Outcome Assessment, partners with University leadership including the Faculty Senate, Undergraduate Education, the Graduate School, and Vice President for Commonwealth Campuses to examine and develop processes for learning outcomes assessment. These processes ensure Penn State has comprehensive support mechanisms in place for program assessment for all degree programs, including undergraduate majors, certificates, minors and graduate programs. 

The new degree, certificate and general education assessment processes have been in place for approximately one year, and Penn State is on track to achieve 95 percent compliance in submissions of undergraduate degree assessment reports for the approximately 500 undergraduate degrees offered across all campuses and 80 percent compliance in submissions of reports for its 300-plus graduate degrees. A formal general education assessment and evaluation plan has been developed and approved by the Office of General Education and submitted to the Faculty Senate Curricular Affairs Committee.  

According to Barbara Masi, associate vice provost for learning outcomes assessment, the new procedures put in place an “ongoing assessment process to ensure general education goals and curricula are met successfully. Degree assessment, in its ideal state, should support crucial moments for faculty reflection on the quality of education delivery and assessment processes.”

Executive Vice President and Provost Nicholas Jones said, “This process has energized student learning assessment across the campuses and ensures the highest quality of education moving forward for all Penn State students.” 

For more information regarding the University’s learning outcomes assessment process, visit www.opa.psu.edu.

Last Updated September 08, 2017