Benchmark Assessments

Houghton has maintained a regular program of national assessment that, when taken together, composes a quality picture of our effectiveness in pursuing our mission. The type and frequency of our standardized and benchmarked assessments are shown in this calendar of assessments.

Since 2008, the Institutional Research & Assessment Office has produced a series of executive summaries called “Houghton’s PULSE,” which provide overviews of our results for nationally benchmarked assessments.

View Benchmark Assessments.

Student Learning Outcomes by Program

Every major and program is asked to determine an appropriate set of student learning outcomes that define what students should do upon completing the course of study. All outcomes ought to be in the service of the broader college mission and the institution’s 16 essential learning outcomes.

Each year, an annual report should explain the outcomes which were assessed, the evidence-based results, the departmental discussions’ results, and what future changes, if any, might be made to improve the program. Then further assessment, with further dialogue, helps determine the impact of the changes.

Assessment reports by program faculty may be viewed here by the campus community.

View Student Learning Outcomes.

Houghton’s Institutional Essential Learning Outcomes

In 2005, the American Association of Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) established their 12 Essential Learning Outcomes as part of their LEAP initiative (Liberal Education and America’s Promise) and have been continuously honing assessment rubrics to evaluate these outcomes. Some college and universities have adopted these 12 outcomes as they are, and often use the established rubrics as their means of assessing the outcomes.

Houghton has adopted a specific institution-wide set of 15 Essential Learning Outcomes. Having these provides linkages from the college mission down through the program levels and to the course and office levels. Without a discrete set of outcomes that all graduates are expected to accomplish, departments and programs might create similar and redundant outcomes. Therefore, departments and programs may fit their outcomes with the institution-level outcomes so there are complementarities and linkages up and down our levels of assessment.

Houghton’s 15 Essential Learning Outcomes were developed independently but have significant overlap. Now that our goals and outcomes are in place at the institution level, further refinement of our assessments is ongoing and will come to the faculty for approval in fall 2011. At the same time, departments and programs will continue or ramp up efforts to fit their outcomes and accompanying assessments to the college framework.

This set of outcomes and assessments are in development. Eventually, clicking on the outcome number will reveal the drill down to the specific assessments to gauge success on the outcomes.

We do not assess all essential student learning outcomes each year, nor administer the relevant instruments (e.g., NSSE, CLA, PP, SSI) each year. Outcomes assessment could occur over a four-year cycle, with perhaps four outcomes being assessed each year. Thus there is no plan to assess every student on each outcome, but we would expect a particular cohort to meet minimal criteria as a group (e.g., 90% of the graduates must demonstrate...).

We are open to further suggestions of ways to assess any of our 15 essential outcomes, including senior capstone course rubrics. The results for each program or unit will be reported via a password-protected section on our web site.

View College's 15 Essential Learning Outcomes.

Policies and Protocols

Templates and Other Resources

Assessment Committee Documents