Assessment of Student Learning
UT continually reviews the institution's quality and effectiveness. UT recognizes that excellent institutions continually seek to improve and are self-reflective. The improvement of overall educational quality and the enhancement of effective teaching and learning will occur when faculty and administrators work together to implement an institution-wide program for outcomes assessment. Outcomes assessment is defined at UT as a process of evaluation that helps determine the importance of a result and whether changes or improvement are needed. The assessment of student learning is one component of the institution's overall assessment and is considered the most important one. The assessment of student learning has the student as its primary focus of examination; therefore UT recognizes that the assessment of student learning first occurs on an individual student basis within a particular course, is processed mainly at the program level, and is supported by the institution.
The purpose of Student Learning Assessment is to continually review the learning experiences of our students at UT, and its focus is to guide academic programs in the development of student learning outcomes and evaluate what students should learn. Therefore, assessment of student learning shall be primarily course- embedded and school/program-based. A secondary purpose of assessment is accountability, which is demonstrating to our accrediting agencies, governing bodies, constituents, and other interested parties that we are effective in achieving our vision, mission, and particular institutional goals. Academic assessment ensures that schools reviews contribute in a fundamentally important way to the achievement of the Institution's Mission.
"The assessment of student learning must demonstrate that the institution's students have knowledge, skills, and competencies consistent with institutional goals and those students at graduation have achieved appropriate higher education goals" [MSCHE]. The focus in the plan is to set the structure for the development and implementation of assessment processes at the school/program level. It is intended to be a source of guidance without constraining experimentation or alternate approaches that may be developed by programs/schools within the Institution. Student learning is the fundamental goal of every institution of higher education. Overall strategic planning efforts at UT are directed ultimately to the enhancement of student learning. The strategic plan takes into account the assessment plan, and results from student learning assessment are used to update the strategic plan.