Sac State University Policy Manual

Assessment Policy

Policy Administrator: Vice President for Academic Affairs
Effective Date:
Index Cross-References:
Policy File Number: UMA00975.htm


Definition and Purpose: 

Assessment at CSUS is a University wide unit* based process to determine how well and in what ways individual units and the University are meeting their individual and collective goals.  It was established by the Administration and the Academic Senate in response to a directive and guidelines from WASC.  Assessment is an ongoing process, required of all units in the University and conducted by the members of each unit Assessment will become part of the program review process (this includes both Academic Program Review and Student Services Review), and as part of the program review process it will tie into the planning of the unit. The primary goal of assessment is to improve the educational program at CSUS.

Each unit shall define its goals, and then shall evaluate the following:

  i)    progress towards meeting its goals
  ii)   the interaction between its academic programs, student services, and the 
        campus environment--and how these relate to achieving established goals
  iii)  the results/effects of its goals on students.

Assessment is not done to justify funding. The results of assessment shall not be compared with results obtained in other units at CSUS or with units at other universities. 

     *Unit is used in a generic sense. This policy applies to departments, Schools, 
       programs (e.g., G.E.), and other units (e.g., Student Services).

Assessment Plan:

Each unit at CSUS shall be asked to define its goals and methods of assessment and to explore new methods.  This assessment/evaluation must be an ongoing process conducted by the members of the unit whose primary purpose is to evaluate the results of the programs, policies, and the planning of the unit. Specifically:

  a. Units shall develop an assessment plan, select methods for evaluating the results of their       programs, and related policies, and establish a time table. The methods should go beyond       grades, and should result in giving information to the individual members of the unit, the       unit as a whole, and to students. A copy of "Achieving Institutional Effectiveness through       Assessment" from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, and copies of the       related WASC standards, shall be provided to all units, and the units shall address the       guidelines from WASC in their assessment efforts. This plan shall include both a review of       current evaluation practices, and consideration of alternative approaches - and this shall       be done at the level of the unit by members of the unit. Furthermore, units shall be       ncouraged to develop assessment methods that generate qualitative information rather       than only quantitative Data.

  b. Faculty and Student Services advisors shall assess the interaction between academic       programs, student services and the campus environment (based on their relationships       with their advisees). Again, this assessment shall generate qualitative information rather       than only quantitative data.

  c. The Office of Institutional Studies shall assist units in using data that is currently collected       by CSUS. Furthermore, the Office of Institutional Studies shall conduct a "census" to       determine the types of data that are already being collected. Academic Affairs shall       provide academic units with information on the types of data needed and various methods       of assessment.

  d. Units shall incorporate assessment efforts in the program review process (this includes       both Academic Program Review and Non-Academic Program Review), and as part of the       program review Process, assessment will tie into unit planning. Furthermore, program       reviews shall address the effectiveness of the self-assessment that is done by units. Some       units are not reviewed as part of any review process that is defined by CSUS (e.g.,       Schools and the University). For such units, accrediting agencies (such as WASC, ABET) will       be regarded as the means for outside review.

  e. The Dean of each School will have the responsibility of ensuring that each unit in the       School develop and implement an assessment plan. The Dean for General Education shall       be responsible for developing and implementing an assessment plan in cooperation with       the General Education Committee. Prior to a program's self study, each academic unit will       be required to submit an assessment plan to the Vice President for Academic Affairs. Once       the plan is reviewed and approved, the unit will implement its plan as part of its self       study. Data collected shall become part of the program review process. Furthermore, the       Dean of each School shall determine (through the program review process) if the School's       goals are addressed by the units in the School.

  f. The Vice President for Academic Affairs shall have the responsibility for ensuring that each       academic unit develops and implements an assessment plan. Furthermore, the Vice       President for Academic Affairs shall determine (through the program review process) if the       University's goals are addressed by the academic units in the University. Ensuring       assessment in non-academic programs shall be the responsibility of the appropriate       program center head. 

  g. The Curriculum and Graduate Policies Committee shall develop and recommend       appropriate questions to be used by the academic units in assessing their programs. The       questions, once approved, shall become part of the University's program review process.        In addition, they will be responsible for reviewing the assessment plans submitted by the       departments. The questions, once approved shall become part of the University's program       review process. The Non-Academic Program Review Committee shall assume this       responsibility for non-academic units. 

  h. The Academic Policies Committee in consultation with the curriculum and Graduate Policies       and Programs Committees shall review the University's assessment policy on a bi-annual       basis.