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Outcomes assessment refers to the process of having programs identify what they want their students to know and be able to do, draw on a variety of assessments to measure student learning, and use their assessment of student learning information to inform program improvement and advance student learning.
Outcomes assessment is important for both accountability and continuous improvement. The university is accountable to the profession and to the public, and especially to students and their parents. Information about student learning collected through the outcomes assessment process provides all stakeholders with a way to evaluate the quality of university programs. High quality outcomes assessment also helps programs improve by providing clear information about what students are and are not learning and how faculty can improve their approaches to better advance student learning.
As part of accreditation as well as continuous improvement, each academic programs is required to submit to the academic assessment committees an annual assessment report at the end of spring semester describing its assessment results and program modifications. Report guides and examples and annual reports from past years are available for review.
Most universities are accredited by an outside organization that vouches for its quality. The accreditation review is quite extensive and examines all important features of a university including its policies, administration, facilities, student services, academic learning, and program quality. CU Denver was last accredited in spring 2011 by the North Central Association of the Higher Learning Commission.
Both campuses of the university have assessment advisory committees but because of the different demands of specialized assessments, the two committees meet separately. Both committees are composed of faculty and administrative representatives from various schools/colleges and administrative units. The committees help set policy, inform their individual schools and colleges about assessment issues, and guide the assessment director on assessment-related issues.