Our SACS-COC Vice President recently informed us of new program assessment requirements to maintain institutional accreditation. In addition to assessing student mastery of program learning outcomes, faculty must also assess student learning at a formative level and make program improvements based on the results of these formative assessments.
Formative assessments are conducted at a point in the curriculum where students are developing, but have not yet mastered, the knowledge/skills/values described in student learning outcomes. These assessments are used to identify students’ strengths and weaknesses mid-way through the program and to make changes to improve student learning in courses in which students are introduced to and develop knowledge and skills related to the learning outcomes.
Summative assessments, on the other hand, measure students’ knowledge/skills/values at or near graduation, when students should have achieved the highest level of knowledge and skills in the program. Summative assessments measure students' mastery of the learning outcomes (mastery at the level expected for the degree).
Suggested direct, formative assessment:
Suggested indirect, formative assessment: