Faculty-Led Assessment of Learning
At Baruch College, in accordance with Middle States Commission on Higher Education Standard V: Educational Effectiveness Assessment, and recognized best practices in higher education, faculty lead all work on assessment of student learning.
The Baruch College Governance Charter clearly states that “[t]he School Faculties shall be responsible for and conduct all educational affairs including but not limited to affairs customarily conducted by an academic faculty: including the formulation of School policies relating to curriculum and degree requirements; academic credits; the granting of degrees; student admission and retention standards; and the academic status, role, obligations, and freedoms of the School Faculty.”
Due to the governance structure as described in the Baruch College Governance Charter, faculty at Baruch College are hired by and teach in degree programs housed within one of three Schools: the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs, the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences, and the Zicklin School of Business. Assessment of student learning is therefore driven by School-based faculty, with administrative support on assessment provided by an assessment lead for each School, reporting directly to each Schools’ Associate Dean.
The School assessment leads share data and information, and collaborate on strengthening assessment practices at Baruch College as a whole, through their ongoing collaborations with the Office of Assessment, Accreditation, and Institutional Effectiveness as well as their active participation in College-wide assessment efforts, including the Baruch College Self-Study 2020 project in support of re-accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Course Learning Goals
All faculty assess student learning and student attainment of course learning goals. The primary purpose of such course learning goal assessment is to give students feedback on their learning and grade them. The faculty handbook suggests that all course syllabi for courses taught at Baruch College include course learning goals. Grading at Baruch College is the responsibility of all faculty, and guidelines for faculty about grading are provided by the Office of the Registrar and found in the faculty handbook.
Program Learning Goals
Program-level assessment is assessing learning of all students in a program on program-level learning outcomes. Program level outcomes are generally addressed over multiple courses and are broader than course learning objectives. Course-level objectives generally contribute to program-level learning outcomes. For example, several courses in a program may each address specific technological skills. Those courses collectively contribute to an overall program-level learning outcome that students use technologies appropriately and effectively. Program-level outcomes are often best assessed with a significant assignment or project completed shortly before students graduate.
Baruch College has program learning goals or outcomes for all degree-granting programs across all three Schools. In each of the three Schools of Baruch College, faculty use the terminology (learning goal as opposed to learning outcome) that is set by the related specialized accreditation agency.
Marxe School of Public and International Affairs: NASPAA Competencies and Program Learning Outcomes
For program learning outcomes in the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs, please see:
- MSPIA Master’s in Public Administration core competencies and program learning goals
- MSPIA Master’s in International Affairs program learning goals
- MSPIA Master’s in Higher Education Administration program learning goals
- MSPIA Bachelor’s of Science in Public Affairs program learning goals
Weissman School of Arts and Sciences Learning Goals
For program learning goals in the Weissman School of Arts and Sciences, please see Weissman Assessment.
Zicklin School of Business: AACSB Learning Goals
For program learning goals in the Zicklin School of Business, including the program learning goals for the BBA in general, the majors within the BBA, as well as for graduate MBA, MS, and PhD programs, please see the information about Assurance of Learning, which is part of the requirements for AACSB accreditation.
College-Wide Learning Goals
College-wide learning goals encompass a universal set of expectations that speak to the student’s holistic Baruch College experience. Student learning is assessed through the college-wide learning goals which are embedded across the general education curriculum as well as department programs.
Baruch’s college-wide learning goals are clearly articulated in the strategic plan under Goal 3.3 as follows:
- Critical thinking, analytical, and problem-solving skills
- The application of learning to practical situations
- Oral, digital, and written communication skills
- Teamwork, social intelligence, and interpersonal relationship skills
- Cultural and ethical competence
Baruch College is a part of the CUNY system-wide general education framework known as the Pathways curriculum. The Baruch College Pathways requirements are broadly communicated to all students via the Office of Undergraduate Advisement and Orientation and located on the undergraduate degrees page as well as well as the undergraduate academic bulletin. At Baruch, college-wide learning goals are incorporated within the general education curriculum, as every student is provided this pedagogical foundation.
General education assessment at Baruch College includes working to continually understand and enhance undergraduate teaching and learning from the perspective of these goals. Faculty teaching to a particular general education outcome collaborate to develop and implement valid methods to deduce student proficiency related to that expectation. This is accomplished using various methods, including a shared program rubric to assess a key assignment or project, using a common set of test questions, or using portfolios. They then aggregate results across courses and based on results and conclusions, faculty decide if and where curricular and programmatic adjustments should be implemented to improve teaching and learning…and ultimately student success.
To support ongoing assessment initiatives, CUNY provides every campus with guidelines on creating a general education assessment plan with the common core, as well as on conducting a course-level assessment of selected common core student learning outcomes. There are also many additional resources that CUNY provides on assessment of general education and the Pathways curriculum.
Assessment of student learning is “deciding what we want our students to learn and making sure they learn it.” Assessment of student learning, according to scholar and practitioner Dr. Linda Suskie, has three fundamental traits:
- It provides evidence of how well students are achieving key learning goals.
- The quality of that evidence is good enough that faculty and staff can use it to inform important decisions, especially regarding helping students learn.
- Evidence is used not only to assess the achievement of individual students but also to reflect on what faculty and staff are doing, and, if warranted, change what is being done.
Suskie, L. Assessing Student Learning: A Common Sense Guide, (2018) Third edition. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. (p. 8.)
Suskie, L. Course vs. program vs. gen-ed assessment Blog post. September 28, 2013 https://www.lindasuskie.com/apps/blog/show/33287598-course-vs-program-vs-gen-ed-assessment
Assessment of Learning in Degree Programs
Assessment of student learning “in the classroom,” meaning courses taught as part of degree-awarding curricular program, is led by and is the responsibility of faculty of Baruch College.
The structure supporting such assessment includes:
- an Office of Assessment, Accreditation, and Institutional Effectiveness;
- leadership from the Associate Provost for Teaching and Learning, the Associate Deans, the Assistant Provost for Assessment, Accreditation and Institutional Effectiveness, School-based Assessment Managers; and
- the collaboration of faculty-led School assessment committees as well as the assessment committees of the Divisions of Academic Affairs, Enrollment Management & Strategic Academic Initiatives, and Student Affairs.
Assessment of Learning and Development in Administrative, Educational and Student Support Units
Student learning and development, and therefore the assessment thereof, also takes place in myriad ways “outside the classroom.” Assessment of administrative, educational, and student support (AES) units is led by the Vice Presidents of the three student-facing divisions at Baruch College: Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, and Enrollment Management & Strategic Academic Initiatives, and is done by members of their staff and members of their respective assessment committees, in collaboration with the Office of Assessment, Accreditation, and Institutional Effectiveness.
In the Classroom
When faculty engage in development of learning goals and assessment of student learning, the assessment process:
- Reflects the vision, mission, and goals of Baruch College
- Reflects the values of each academic discipline
- Reflects the learning goals of each school and department
- Helps faculty reflect on and refine their approach to teaching
- Helps departments reflect on and refine their curricula in a systematic way
Outside the Classroom
When administrators in AES units engage in development of learning goals and assessment of student learning, the assessment process:
- Reflects the vision, mission, and goals of Baruch College
- Reflects the values of the division and department
- Reflects the goals of each department
- Helps administrators reflect on and refine their approach to teaching, training, and support
- Helps departments reflect on and refine their programs and services in a systematic way