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Requirements & Reporting

In 2002, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), NYU's accreditation-granting agency, introduced new accreditation standards focused explicitly on assessment.1   The new standards require institutions to  provide, on an ongoing basis, both direct and indirect evidence of student learning at the course, program, and institution levels, as well as to show proof that programs and policies are directly informed by assessment results.2  

Assessment Compliance at NYU

To comply with federal and state accreditation regulations, each school must annually assess all active degree and certificate granting programs.  Each major at each degree level must be assessed. 

What are the annual expectations for program-level assessment?

1. For each program, faculty must develop and administer an assessment plan.  Faculty may use one of the suggested templates crafted by the Office of Academic Assessment, or develop their own.  The assessment plan must include the following components:

  • Student Learning Outcomes -  For the program being assessed, clear articulation of 3-5 student learning goals/outcomes.  The program learning outcomes should be consistent with the University and School goals for all graduates.  If possible, programs should identify which courses in the curriculum align with specific objectives of the overall program.
  • Methods & Measurement - Programs are expected to assess at least 1 student learning outcome each year, with the assessment of all learning outcomes (associated with the assessment plan) within 3-5 years.  For the specific outcome assessed in a single year, programs should identify the research design to be employed.  Specifically, what method(s) will be used to collect information for the assessment, and what measures will be used?  If relevant, what standards/targets/benchmarks will be used for comparison?  
  • Results - Programs should aim to collect both direct and indirect evidence for student learning assessment.  Federal regulators require at least some of the evidence to be direct.  Programs should determine how results will be collected, analyzed, and reviewied by program faculty and administrators. 
  • Action Taken  - Referred to as the "feedback loop," an assessment cycle is not considered complete without this 4th step - use of results.  How will the program actually use the results of the assessment to improve opportunities for student learning?  What action will be taken?  What improvements or changes have been made based on the assessment findings?

2. At the end of each academic year, programs must submit completed assessment reports to their Assessment Council liaisons, who will submit all files to the Office of Academic Assessment.  Reports may be completed using the same templates suggested for recording assessment plans, or programs may elect to devise their own.  Content matters over form.  Ideally, programs should submit supporting documentation with their assessment reports (i.e., summary of data, results, use of results).

3. Each summer, the OAA will content-code each submitted report, adding the data to the master NYU program-level database.  The OAA will aggregate results and progress in an annual summary report submitted to the Provost.  In the Fall, OAA staff will meet with each Assessment Council liaison to discuss the status of the reports submitted in the prior year, and to outline goals to continue to grow assessment practices across each program. 

Annual Program-Level Assessment Timeline

Fall Term

Assessment Council liaisons meet wtih OAA staff to:

  • Review specific results from OAA analysis of assessment reports submitted in prior cycle
  • Discuss program and school-specific needs to further grow assessment practices and use of assessment results
  • Outline goals and an action plan, for the current academic year


Program faculty responsible for assessment meet to determine:

  • Which student learning outcome will we assessed this year?
  • How will we assess this outcome? What methods, measures, sampling strategies, etc. will we employ?
  •  What is our internal timeline to collect data, review results, discuss how results will be used, and complete the annual required assessment report
Spring Term Program faculty responsible for assessment:
  • Collect and analyze assessment data
  • Determine how results will be used to improve student learning in the program
  • Prepare and submit annual assessment report to their Assessment Council liaison
April 30th Deadline for programs to submit annual assessment report.

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Need a Template?

Programs may use these suggested templates, or create their own, to annually submit their student learning outcomes assessment plans and reports.
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Assessment Plans for New Programs?

New program proposals are required to include a student learning outcomes assessment plan, to be submitted to the Office of Academic Assessment at the same time formal proposals are submitted to the Undergraduate Curriculum or Graduate Curriculum Advisory Committee. At a minimum, new program assessment plans should include 3-5 student learning goals and associated outcomes. If possible, new program assessment plans should also articulate how outcomes will be measured and a plan for action as the first cohort of students enter and complete the program. For a detailed description of new doctoral level and below doctoral level program review policies, please visit the Program Approval Process site.
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