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Assessment of Student Learning

Derived from the latin verb assidere, meaning “to sit beside,” assessment is most effective when approached in a collaborative manner. In the context of higher education, assessment is designed to create a collaborative, systematic, ongoing process to enhance student learning. Assessment begins with the articulation of student learning objectives (SLOs) for each degree program.

Do our students learn what we want them to learn?

Do they learn well?

Are our teaching and learning strategies effective?

Assessment seeks to answer these important questions employing a straightforward planning process. Following the establishment of student learning objectives, faculty develop strategies to accomplish these objectives. Faculty then assess the effectiveness of the strategies, revising them when evidence convinces them to do so.

The University of Missouri engages in a faculty-driven, collaborative process to enhance student learning. A variety of data provides evidence of the institution’s commitment to continuously improve the conditions that support student learning (both curricular and co-curricular) and demonstrate institutional effectiveness. These functions extend beyond mere compliance, employing data analysis and interpretation to inform planning and decision making and to better understand student learning. IR&QI supports academic administration with faculty playing a primary role in assessment activities. Each Academic Program Chair submits information on student learning achievements as part of a formal Academic Program Assessment (APA) to the Office of the Provost every five years, along with annual reports on progress toward stated goals. The APA review team (IR&QI VP, Director of Assessment and Associate Director of Quality Improvement) supports the Associate Provost’s management of the assessment process. Chaired by the Director of Assessment, the Assessment Advisory Committee (AAC) provides guidance to the institution on best practices for sustaining, enhancing, and assessing student learning.

Core Learning Objectives and General Education Assessment

MU strives to have all students achieve the following goals:

Goal 1: Graduates will be able to perform systematic inquiry and identify and evaluate new information in light of previous knowledge.

Goal 2: Graduates will possess the knowledge, abilities, and skills necessary to communicate effectively.

Goal 3: Graduates will possess the knowledge, abilities, and skills necessary to serve society responsibly.

Goal 4: Graduates will know how to observe and critically analyze the diverse human experience.

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