Student Learning Assessment

Regular and ongoing assessment of student learning is a critical component to ensuring the quality and continuous improvement of academic programs at Illinois Tech. 

Illinois Tech has a robust, faculty-centered structure to conduct core, program, and co-curricular assessment, linked by an overlapping committee structure and unified in support of developing a culture of assessment that provides meaningful data to improve educational quality and student success. 

What is Assessment?

In their handbook for course-based review and assessment, Martha L. A. Stassen et al. simply define assessment as “the systematic collection and analysis of information to improve student learning” (2001, p. 5). Assessment of student learning occurs at all levels: at the course level, instructors use assessment tools like assignments, exams, and quizzes to assess individual students achievement. At the program level, departments assess their courses of study against overarching program learning objectives (PLOs) which can span multiple courses. At the institution level, Illinois Tech core curriculum learning objectives and co-curricular activities are assessed using similar methods. At each level of the assessment process, data is gathered and analyzed to determine to what extent student are meeting the course, program, core, or co-curricular learning objectives.

Systematic assessment enables faculty and other stakeholders to maintain consistency across curricula and to determine when or where curricular adjustments are needed. Assessment is a crucial part of the accreditation requirements for Illinois Tech, but more importantly, assessment is a tool to ensure that students are developing the skills they need for success.

Our core mission at Illinois Tech is "to provide distinctive and relevant education in an environment of scientific, technological, and professional knowledge creation and innovation." So, how do we as an institution know if the education provided through our courses and programs is distinctive and relevant? How can we as an institution ensure that we focus on what our students do in the workforce and in society in general? Through continuous assessment of student learning.

Student Learning Assessment and Grades

The spirit of the assessment is one of continuous improvement. Student learning assessment provides feedback to faculty about how well the program curriculum is working to help students achieve the learning objectives of the program. In contrast, grades provide feedback to individual students about how well they are mastering the content of the course.

Assessment at Illinois Tech

This section contains more information about how faculty conduct assessment at Illinois Tech, including best practices and templates for Program Assessment Plans and Annual Program Assessment Reports.

Program, core curriculum, and cocurricular assessment all maintain regular cycles of continuous improvement. See the Timelines and Calendar section of the Assessment at Illinois Tech Google Site for details.

Program Assessment typically runs on an annual cycle per its Program Assessment Plan. Annual program summary reports are due the fall term following the academic year assessed. For example, reports and recommendations on learning objectives reviewed against Fall 2023-Spring 2024 student work are due Fall 2024, in October

Core Curriculum Assessment is a 3-year cycle evaluating core curriculum competencies and objectives against student course work.

Cocurricular Assessment will have its own regular cycle of its goals reviewed against its own cocurricular student learning objectives.

Assessment uses some unique terminology. The Glossary of Assessment Terms   is a list of common terms and variations used at Illinois Tech.

Program Assessment provides the faculty and institution data on student achievement of program learning objectives (PLOs) for its specific program

Program owners are responsible for annual student learning assessment of their programs against their program's unique PLOs.

Program assessment plans are initially created as part of the overall institutional program approval process. They may be updated by the program owners as needed. Every year, program owners review student work against some or all of its PLOs, in accordance with their plan. The result is an annual summary of data reviewed and recommendations to be implemented to improve student learning. These annual program reports are due the fall term after the term assessed. For example, reports and recommendations on goals reviewed against Fall 2023-Spring 2024 student work are due Fall 2024, typically October.

The University Program Assessment Committee (UPAC) provides support and assistance to Program Assessment Coordinators (PACs). See the Assessment at Illinois Tech Google Site for more.

Distinct from program assessment and cocurricular assessment, Core Curriculum Assessment provides the faculty and institution data on student achievement of those core learning objectives that are the hallmark of an Illinois Tech graduate.

The Core Curriculum refers to the system of courses designed to promote the development of 21st century competencies throughout their academic work at Illinois Tech. The core curriculum includes components from STEM, Humanities, Natural Science, Computer Science, IPRO, Communication, and the Social Sciences.

Find undergraduate core curriculum objectives published in the university bulletin.

The Core Curriculum Assessment Committee (CCAC) assesses the entire core curriculum in a 3-year cycle. Find the Core Curriculum process, categories, and the courses within each, as well as its 3-year assessment sequence on the Assessment at Illinois Tech Google Site.

Are you teaching a Core Designated Course? To get started, jump to these resources first in our Assessment at Illinois Tech Google Site.

Cocurricular Assessment focuses on the university-wide learning objectives and goals that go above and beyond the classroom, programs, and courses. Cocurricular projects align with the mission of Illinois Tech and provide students with learning experiences to prepare them for professional practices.

The Cocurricular Assessment Committee is working on updating its cocurricular learning objectives and assessment plans to provides the faculty and Illinois Tech data on student achievement of those professional learning objectives outside the curriculum that are the hallmark of Illinois Tech graduates.

See our Assessment at Illinois Tech Google Site for even more information and FAQs.

Program Assessment Basics

Assessment Plan Essentials This guide and template will help you create your program assessment plan.

Use this Annual Program Assessment Report for your program's annual report, or this Assessment Plan Template if you need to submit an assessment plan.

See more in the Program Assessment page of the Assessment at Illinois Tech Google Site.

UPAC manages IIT Assessment Organization in Blackboard for submission of program assessment plans and annual reports by the Program Assessment Coordinators (PACs).