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Comprehensive Program Assessment: The Whys And Wherefores

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Assessment Issues II

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.327.1 - 9.327.10



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Paper Authors

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Barbara Stewart

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Carole Goodson

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Susan Miertschin

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Luces Faulkenberry

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 3431 Comprehensive Program Assessment: The Whys and Wherefores

Carole Goodson, Luke Faulkenberry, Susan Miertschin, and Barbara Stewart

University of Houston


Many faculty view program evaluation as a strenuous process, something imposed by a higher authority, another hoop to jump through, and of little real benefit. In fact, there are a number of reasons to undertake some level of program evaluation. First, evaluation is required by entities external but, nonetheless, important to the academic institution, including accrediting agencies. Most academic institutions also have internal plans and evaluation requirements directed at assuring quality of programs and services. Evaluation data can make a case with decision makers for increased support for under-resourced areas.

While evaluation is then imposed on faculty by various authorities, it is also a matter of professional integrity. Faculty members want to deliver good programs that enable their students to gain secure, stimulating and satisfactorily remunerative employment, as well as ensure employers of the competence and potential of program graduates. Evaluating programs allows faculty to reflect, to better understand how a program is working, and where it is headed. It enables faculty to catch potential problems related to curriculum early and make corrections before more serious problems occur. Evaluation driven by faculty integrity spawns continual program improvement, which helps to establish best practices that can be passed on to others.

Thus, while evaluation can be viewed as onerous, most faculty members are engaged in some form of program evaluation. Often evaluation efforts are disconnected and small and specific in focus. What is needed is a system for collecting, compiling, and warehousing data in a planned, consistent and methodical way. Once data gathering and warehousing are systematized, analysis and review can take place, after which action can be based on the information.

During the 2002-2003 academic year, the Assessment and Continuous Improvement Committee (ACI) of the College of Technology at the University of Houston was formed representing faculty in diverse program areas. The committee was tasked with planning and implementing a broad program assessment and continuous improvement process for the College. The ACI Committee defined the overall committee goal as follows: “Develop a process for acquiring information that will help programs excel, endure and become stronger.”

The paper describes processes employed in developing the assessment system. The system to date consists of a set of assessment goals, multiple indicators for each goal, ways to measure attainment of an indicator, and a phased implementation plan. In this paper, particular emphasis

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Stewart, B., & Goodson, C., & Miertschin, S., & Faulkenberry, L. (2004, June), Comprehensive Program Assessment: The Whys And Wherefores Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13186

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