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Assessment

At Notre Dame of Maryland University, assessment of student learning and overall institutional effectiveness is an ongoing affirmation of our commitment to educational rigor and innovation.

Student learning

Assessment of student learning, an important component of our teaching and learning activities, allows each program and department to set its own goals and the means by which it intends to reach those goals. It is a process that encourages creative thought and change.



The assessment program invites honest feedback and evaluates not only what is predictable and safe. Since it explores areas in the curriculum where assessment results may dictate revision, it is imperative for the University to promote an atmosphere where faculty and staff do not feel the need to censor or “spin” their assessment results. Assessment at times means risk-taking; a university that promotes this approach will reap the benefits of programs that are continually improving.


Assessment report

Each major program of study submits an annual assessment report. These annual reports focus specifically on the evaluation of how well students are meeting the program’s stated objectives for their learning outcomes. Every five years, program assessment results become part of departmental self-studies, which are designed to review the department’s evolution, accomplishment and challenges more holistically. Departmental self-studies should:

  • Improve academic offerings and program planning
  • Review values at both the departmental and institutional level
  • Facilitate interdisciplinary conversations about student learning throughout campus

Because every department and program contributes to student learning, assessment also includes academic support services such as the Loyola/Notre Dame Library, student affairs and co-curricular activities. Thus all programs can assess how they contribute to the learning community and what changes they might make to maximize that learning experience.



Benefits

Notre Dame derives many benefits from assessment of student learning:



  1. Academic departments reflect on what the departmental mission is and what a graduate from that program will know, value and be able to accomplish.


  2. Students find it helpful to know the goals of the major and how each course in the program relates to those goals.
  3. 

Faculty are able to use the assessment results to determine if program goals are being met.

If particular goals are not being met, faculty will have specific evidence concerning what curricular changes need to be made to improve student attainment of program goals.



Instructional support programs, such as student development, the registrar and financial aid, see themselves as partners in creating a learning environment.