We have reviewed your department’s assessment report for 2008-2009 and the AACSB report for 2010. We appreciate your detailed, thoughtful and reflective approach to measuring student progress. The Breech School assessment strategy is a model for sustained and systematic attention to student learning. Our comments below are meant primarily to congratulate the Breech School on its achievements in assessment, and to raise a few questions for future departmental consideration. Our comments focus on the undergraduate business programs.
Identification of Goals
The learning goals for the department are clearly articulated, appropriate to the mission of the Breech School and the broader university, and are effectively operationalized. The learning goals include general skills (writing, critical thinking) and content knowledge in the majors within the Breech School. It also includes a goal of preparing students for ethical business practices. This laudable learning outcome is somewhat of a challenge to assess, as your reports indicate (both in terms of definitions and measurement). We commend the department for its ongoing reflection on the best way to assess this central learning outcome.
The Breech School offers six undergraduate majors. Each of these majors is assessed separately in terms of content knowledge, while sharing some overarching learning objectives with all the majors in the Breech School. Some explicit discussion of which goals are specific to the major might be helpful. For example, what learning outcomes for students majoring in computer information systems or economics are specific to those majors, and where are they articulated? This issue of shared versus major-specific learning goals is a common one for departments with multiple majors.
Assessment Strategies Used
The department’s assessment strategies and measures are exemplary. The Breech School has an Assurance of Student Learning committee and director, providing an effective and sustained structure for assessment. The Breech School is also a model for the ways in which the focus on assessment is widely shared in the department. The department uses a variety of assessment strategies, including subject/field tests, student surveys, IDEA evaluations, faculty review of student work (on writing and critical thinking skills, for example), internship evaluations, and capstone projects.
Most impressive is the regular attention in the Breech School to reflection on the process of assessment and the efforts to integrate lessons on student learning into departmental planning. The department has made effective use of its assessment data to enhance student learning.
Congratulations on AACSB accreditation. It is a well-deserved recognition of the outstanding education provided by the Breech School, and of its successful approach to assessment.