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Johns Hopkins University Learning Assessment Plan

Learning assessment for both graduate and undergraduate programs at Johns Hopkins University is directed by the University Council on Learning Assessment (UCLA) formed by the provost’s office to guide the divisions’ efforts as they develop learning objectives guided by teaching and learning best practices and driven by evidence-based instruction. This document outlines a plan and aligns with Johns Hopkins University vision, mission, and values. This plan promotes reflective practice, critical thinking, and inquiry-based learning through a robust review of performance-based assessment measures that ultimately drive program and division level improvements aimed to increase student learning outcomes, satisfaction, and impact on their community. The UCLA members review the plan regularly and offer suggestions to enhance effectiveness of assessment and evaluation practices. The implementation of the plan is an iterative process of continuous improvement. UCLA is tasked with providing a high standard for assessment at Johns Hopkins; one that is geared toward improvement and innovation in assessment practices using advanced techniques and innovative technology.

Each academic division has been asked to develop and maintain a school specific assessment plan with educational objectives appropriate to the disciplines and the level of academic performance that distinguishes Johns Hopkins. Assessment plans are also integrated into the University’s academic planning and budgeting processes.

Assessment for Improvement

The culture of assessment is based on continuous improvement that parallels JHU’s focus on scholarship and research.

Figure 1. Assessment for Improvement

Assessment ensures that students learn

Assessment data collected from varying sources provide evidence of the achievement of each individual student when measured against acceptable and established benchmarks. Each student’s learning is measured through targeted assessments and is aligned with learning objectives. Assessments are aligned with rubrics and results are analyzed and evaluated in order to monitor student learning attainment and provide indicators of success that guide and support student learning experiences.

Assessment ensures that courses and programs are effective

The analyses of assessment data indicate course effectiveness and inform course improvement and development as well as feedback for individual learners and programs. Assessments are designed to provide evidence of student learning in relation to the objectives and outcomes associated with each course that are drawn from program level objectives and outcomes. Similarly, attainment of learning across all courses in a program provides evidence of program effectiveness in guiding and achieving stated learning outcomes. On a holistic level, evidence of program effectiveness and data collection and analysis from programs across each division provide and guide university level improvement and effectiveness.

Assessment ensures that the JHU mission, vision, and values are addressed

Mission, vision, and values define what JHU aspire to implement in affecting change and values in the community, and specifically in its own student body. Assessment analyses provide evidence that learning outcomes across divisions align with JHU’s mission, vision, and values as defined.

Assessment Plan

Figure 2. Assessment Process

The Assessment plan outlines an overview of what is expected at the university level, while each division defines and follows an assessment culture that better fits the context of its vision, mission, and values as they align with the university’s mission, vision, and values.

The plan articulates the following steps as depicted in figure 2:

  1. Clearly define program learning objectives, post objectives on department and program
  2. Link program learning objectives to courses, embedded assessment activities, and program matrices to ensure appropriate curriculum mapping.
  3. Articulate plans for external program reviews at appropriate
  4. Measure student progress and performance against stated learning objectives:
    1. Direct assessment of student learning from coursework, portfolios, capstone projects, licensure exams,
    2. Indirect assessment of student learning from student surveys, focus groups, exit surveys, etc.
  1. Develop a plan for continuous improvement in each academic program to systematically gather, review and respond to the collective results of the assessments and apply changes or improvements.

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