Standard 7: Institutional Assessment
The institution has developed and implemented an assessment process that evaluates its overall effectiveness in achieving its mission and goals and its compliance with accreditation standards.
Relative to this standard, an accredited institution is expected to possess or demonstrate the following attributes or activities:
1a. a foundation in the institution’s mission and clearly articulated institutional, unit-level, and program-level goals that encompass all programs, services, and initiatives and are appropriately integrated with one another (see Standards 1: Mission and Goals and 2: Planning, Resource Allocation, and Institutional Renewal);
1b. systematic, sustained, and thorough use of multiple qualitative and/or quantitative measures that:
1b1. maximize the use of existing data and information;
1b2. clearly and purposefully relate to the goals they are assessing;
1b3. are of sufficient quality that results can be used with confidence to inform decisions;
1c. support and collaboration of faculty and administration;
1d. clear realistic guidelines and a timetable, supported by appropriate investment of institutional resources;
1e. sufficient simplicity, practicality, detail, and ownership to be sustainable;1f. periodic evaluation of the effectiveness and comprehensiveness of the institution’s assessment process;
The state’s long range plan, A Blueprint for Excellence - New Jersey’s Long-Range Plan for
Higher Education Update 2005, provides the broad parameters for
As was documented in standard
An important assessment function played by the state is through its review of the university’s annual budget request to ensure that the university is efficiently and effectively utilizing its resources (see standard 3, element 1). The university also submits an annual Accountability Report to the state that contains evaluative data on the university’s performance in areas such as student access, educational outcomes and instructional delivery.
At the university level,
institutional assessment at
Campuswide faculty councils also provide an advisory role to the President and the senior administration of the university. (see standard 4, element 1)
While the President’s
strategic goals provide a broad approach to institutional assessment at
A fundamental mechanism for
moving the university along the road to achieving these goals is the All Funds
Budgeting (AFB) process adopted by the university in 2004-05 academic
year. Under the direction of the
Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and the Vice President for
Budgeting, AFB supports the transparent distribution of institutional
resources. It is consistent with
Because AFB is a heavily tuition-driven model it is important for deans to have access to data that accurately tracks their enrollment and course credit data (see diagram of how tuition dollars are allocated). These data are critical planning elements for the units and are contained in the data warehouse maintained by Institutional Research. The following are examples of the data used (view1; view2). The Office of Budget and Resource Studies works with unit deans to provide relevant budget information that assists the units in the development of their unit priorities, revenue projections, and faculty hiring projections. These plans are developed, discussed and assessed in regular meetings with the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs.
The Center for Organizational
Development and Leadership (ODL) provides a critical dimension to
assessment activities at
major effort of institutional assessment has been the effort to assess and
better understand the way the university is perceived by its many different
constituencies. The first step in this
process was the University Relations Constituency
Study, which provided the basis for a process of continual assessment
A Matrix of Education Support
Technology provides an overview of goals for education support
The Office of Institutional Research and
Academic Planning (OIRAP)
gathers, analyzes, and uses data to inform institutional planning, policy
development and decision-making. The Office
provides reporting, assessment, benchmarking, planning, and public information
services to support institutional effectiveness and to respond to the needs of
the university community and the citizens of
As an active member of the American Association of Universities Data Exchange, Institutional Research collaborates with respective offices of other member schools of the Association of American Universities (AAU) to develop a set of comparative indicators for both undergraduate and graduate education. The development of these indicators will be used by the AAU and its member schools to not only facilitate internal assessment of institutional effectiveness, but provide critical information about institutional performance to external stakeholders. Many of these indicators are planned to be ready for use by the individual AAU institutions in spring 2008.
A selection of regular and ad hoc reports used for institutional assessment and produced by OIRAP include studies on student economic and racial/ethnic diversity; student retention and graduation rates; periodic Economic Impact Statements; reports to the NCAA and Department of Education concerning athletics for each campus (New Brunswick, Newark, and Camden); Title II – Annual Questionnaire on Teacher Preparation Programs; and Legislative District Summaries.
When opportunity presents itself,
the office works closely with outside organizations engaged in researching
important topics in higher education.
Two recent efforts have resulted in efforts to comparatively evaluate
the success of
Through its data warehouse, OIRAP is able to provide information to central administrators and the many decanal units of the university and conduct special analytical studies on a need to know basis. The data warehouse contains diachronic and current information on students, faculty, and staff. The information included in the data warehouse comes from various university legacy data systems, such as the Student Records Database (SRDB), Human Resources, Course Scheduling, and the Course Analysis System (CAS), as well as the state's Student Unit Record Enrollment (SURE) database. Other sources of data include student placement data from the College Assessment Research System (CARS) and faculty information from the Faculty Survey. Data from the new Student Financial Aid system and data from the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs is also planned to be incorporated into the system. Entry into the data warehouse can occur through different access points (direct querying, On-Line Analytical Programming (OLAP), etc. – see linked diagram. Examples of the type, level and detail of the data that are available from the data warehouse can be found in the linked file of selected data views. The data warehouse also contains the source data for the all funds budgeting system (see standard 2, element 2).
OIRAP collects information on faculty activities
through its management of the Rutgers
Faculty Survey. The Faculty
Survey provides faculty with a single point of data entry for all their
required data reporting needs such as tenure and promotion forms and grant
application forms. Reports of faculty
activity are available to deans and other administrators (see link for an
example of a report
at a Dean’s level). In
addition, OIRAP collects and produces reports on instructional workload
OIRAP engages in an active survey research program, which provides a rich source of primary data on students’ assessment of their academic and student life experiences. The office regularly administers the Upper Division and Graduating Student Surveys. These and other surveys (see listing of undergraduate student surveys) have informed decision-making activities including the Transforming Undergraduate Education initiative, student services improvements, the proposed revision of the student code of honor, etc. Graduate student surveys including the Ph.D. exit survey are used by graduate programs as an essential assessment tool. Surveys of faculty and staff have also been administered to help inform decisions on a variety of topics including faculty service, undergraduate research and learning outcomes, global and international initiatives, academic integrity, and campus climate concerns.
Other institutional assessment-related activities of the office include:
· overseeing the development of new programs, which has recently been revised to include specifications for assessing learning outcomes in the development of new programs
· providing staff support for the Committee on Academic Planning and Review (see standard 2, element 2)
· administering the testing and placement program of incoming students and reporting on the effectiveness of the program functioning as the university liaison to the Association of American Universities Data Exchange, an organization that collects and exchanges benchmark data on institutional effectiveness among member institutions (a description and list of data exchange items available to participating members can be found here)
· managing university reporting to national agencies such as the U.S. Department of Education (e.g., IPEDS ); state agencies such as the Commission on Higher Education and the Department of Education; NCAA – athletic progress reports (New Brunswick, Newark); and college guides (e.g., U.S. News, CDS, Peterson’s)
3. written institutional (strategic) plan(s) that reflect(s) consideration of assessment results.
The incorporation of assessment results that reveal their discussion with constituents in written plans and improvement efforts can be found in standard 2, element 2.