Antioch University prides itself on its mission to provide “learner-centered education to empower students with the knowledge and skills to lead meaningful lives and to advance social, economic, and environmental justice.”
An Antioch education inspires our students to transform themselves, connect with others, and harness their talents to win victories for humanity. During their studies and throughout their careers, Antioch students actively reflect on their values, biases, and behaviors. In classroom communities and beyond they seek diverse perspectives and confront dynamics of power, privilege, and oppression. They engage with the complex, interconnected systems comprising our world, challenging the status quo and advancing social, environmental, and economic justice.
Antioch University Faculty have identified three Core Attributes that embody this Antiochian vision:
Antioch University students attain the knowledge and critical skills of their disciplines to develop themselves personally and professionally. Students actively reflect upon those acquired knowledge and skills, as well as their own and others’ values, biases, and behaviors.
Antioch University students develop social and cultural responsiveness through participation in academic, civic, and professional communities. Students recognize the diverse perspectives and relational dynamics necessary to be effective community members.
Antioch University students apply the knowledge, skills, and habits of mind acquired through their studies. By anchoring their professional goals in social responsibility, students take actions that advance justice and lead to positive change
It is the University’s responsibility to assess the degree to which it is accomplishing its educational mission and to use the results to improve the effectiveness of its programs.
We believe that effective assessment of student learning:
- Resides in faculty engagement and collaborative decision-making.
- Involves faculty, students, administration and staff in continuous, systematic cycles of questioning, feedback, and refinement.
- Generates information that is shared with appropriate stakeholders.
- Enhances teaching, learning, and program design.
- Contributes to the university as a learning organization.
The Assessment Resource Team (ART) is a body of university representatives who collaborate to foster valid and effective university-wide assessment practice. Members serve both as campus representatives to ART and as consultants to their campus in support of assessment practices. Antioch campuses also have academic assessment councils, committees, or academic officers for advising local programs.
These web pages are maintained by the Assessment Resource Team to advance Antioch University’s vision and commitment to academic assessment. Please contact team members, listed in the sidebar, with questions regarding academic assessment.
The Assessment Resource Team produces occasional reports on academic assessment issues, policy, and practice including:
- Recommendations for the Development of Course Evaluations, November 2014
- Analysis of HLC Comprehensive Visit Final Report Criterions Three & Four and Recommendations of Promising Actions, May 2014
- Recommendations on the Use of Student Ratings Data for Evaluation of Courses and Faculty, February 2014
- Assessment Resource Team Mission Statement, January 2013
- Antioch University Policy on Assessment of Student Learning, November 2012
- ART Recommendations Re: University Surveys, September 2012
- Rubrics, Narrative Evaluations, and Criteria for Student Learning at Antioch University, March 2011
Antioch’s academic assessment system involves ongoing reflection and action ensuring the quality of student learning and dynamic health of our academic programs. Academic assessment at Antioch University serves several purposes:
- Foster a culture of critical reflection on teaching and
- Monitor program performance with respect to mission and student
- Inform effective planning and resource
- Fulfill the information needs of stakeholders
In recognition of the interconnected nature of academic assessment, institutional metrics, and decision- making processes, Antioch has adopted a comprehensive assessment system framework as described in the tab below. In the absence of this type of framework, program review could easily be perceived, and become, a series of bureaucratic mandates and rote, meaningless steps for programs to satisfy. A comprehensive assessment system encompasses teaching and learning quality, as well as institutional planning, thereby fostering a cohesive approach to assessment and program review.
Comprehensive Assessment System Framework
Each of the following components, Program Profile, Program Review & Reporting and Institutional Decision-Making, mutually inform one another in a comprehensive assessment system framework:
- A Program Profile supports and informs the review and decision-making processes. The profile is comprised of information about the program structure and tenets, methods used to evaluative student learning, and institutional metrics such as student enrollment patterns.
- Program Reviews & Reporting involve cycles of inquiry examining program effectiveness and informing decision-making processes. Antioch utilizes three types of review and reporting: a) Annual Program Reviews, b) six year Comprehensive Academic Reviews, and c) Specialized Reviews.
- Information & Data Utilization processes informed by the Program Reviews and Program Profile lead to effective collaboration across academic programs, coordination with operational departments, and organizational planning, budgeting, and decision-making.
As illustrated in the figure below, the components work in concert to advance the university as a learning organization, providing transparency of information, encouraging critical reflection, fostering collaboration, informing planning, monitoring performance, and addressing the needs of stakeholders. This framework leverages the natural inclination of Antioch faculty and staff to reflect and improve. It honors the interdependent relationships between academic and administrative departments, recognizing that insight, collaboration, and innovation occur when there is common knowledge and understanding across the institution. Each of these components as well as quality criteria, institutional processes, and specific personnel responsibilities, are further articulated in the AU Academic Assessment System & Program Review Manual.
The Program Profile is a web-based repository of program information, academic assessment materials, and enrollment data.
Consistent with Antioch’s vision for academic assessment the Program Profile is designed to foster reflection on teaching and learning, collaboration within and across programs, reporting to stakeholders, and effective institutional decision-making. The Program Profile includes the following materials:
- Student Learning Outcomes
- Curriculum Maps
- Performance Rubrics
- Program Webpage Links
Additional program review and enrollment data is also archived in the Program Profile and accessible to university personnel. Click the links below for an introductory video and to access the Program Profile.
View an Introductory video below. Click here to visit the Program Profile
The following is a guide through the process of academic assessment. Click on the topics below for a description of the academic assessment process.
Program Review ~ Cycles of Inquiry & Critical Questions
Antioch University is committed to the continuous review of student learning and improvement of its academic programs. Antioch employs three types of program review, Annual, Comprehensive, and Specialized. The processes and procedures for these reviews are described in the AU Academic Assessment System & Program Review Manual.
Antioch program reviews use a systematic, collaborative inquiry process for the purpose of understanding student learning and improving teaching. Faculty engage in a Cycle of Inquiry:
At Antioch, the Cycle of Inquiry has, at its heart, the central mission of the University, which is to put student learning at the center of all we do. Reflecting on how well we accomplish that mission, to enhance and enrich student learning in the best Antiochian tradition, is therefore an essential element of academic assessment. As Cycle of Inquiry above illustrates, all questions driving the inquiry are related to the learning mission.
Questions directly related to student learning include such examples as, “How well are our students meeting the expectations we have for them? What do we need to keep doing, and what needs to change?” Other questions relating to topics such as the adequacy of facilities, strategies for faculty recruitment and retention, or faculty scholarship will still connect to the enrichment of students’ learning experience. Thus, at Antioch, evidence used in a cycle of inquiry, plans made, and action taken, will always relate to, and be informed by, the quality of student learning.
Antioch’s academic assessment system involves ongoing reflection and action ensuring the quality of student learning and the dynamic health of our academic programs. The following quality criteria are designed to foster consistency of quality practices across the university, as well as flexibility as to how the criteria are implemented:
- The critical question is addressable through empirical evidence and relates to program-level student learning.
- Multiple direct and indirect data methods are used to examine the critical question.
- Results are documented, analyzed, and clearly described.
- Annual Program Review identifies realistic action steps based on data results that have been or will be taken.
- Critical Question Worksheet – For identifying an effective cycle of inquiry question and direct/indirect evidence for investigating the question.
- Cycle of Inquiry Planner – An overview for designing each stage of a cycle of inquiry.
- Academic Assessment Feedback Rubric – Used as formative feedback and also as a self-reflection tool for faculty themselves to examine their academic assessment practices.
Student Learning Outcomes & Curriculum Maps
Student learning outcomes (SLOs) are concise statements describing what we want students to know (knowledge), be able to do (skills) and care about (values) as a result of their experience in their academic program. They capture the most important qualities of a graduate of a particular program and/or institution. Antioch has established the following criteria for student learning outcomes and their use at the program level:
- Describe what a student will know, do, and be like at the end of the program.
- Able to be examined through empirical evidence.
- Aligned with program curriculum.
- Associated with levels of performance (e.g., criteria, rubric).
- Evaluated as part of the academic assessment process.
- Aligned with core attributes and primary sources of evidence.
- Accessible to students and faculty
SLOs are more specific than program goals and more general than course objectives. Student Learning Outcomes are often expressed as action statements that capture the essence of a professional in a given field or discipline. General examples of Student Learning Outcomes are:
- Students utilize major theoretical approaches when describing economic phenomena. (knowledge)
- Students use statistical packages to analyze data and interpret results accurately. (skill)
- Students adhere to the discipline’s professional code of ethics. (value)
A Curriculum Map documents where in a program of study evidence of specific student learning outcomes is collected and assessed. There is no expectation that any one course or activity will allow students to demonstrate every program-level learning outcome. Across the curriculum, however, students must be able to demonstrate achievement of all learning outcomes by the time they graduate.
Collect Data & Analyze Results
An assessment plan identifies specific student learning outcomes to be assessed and who data will be collected about each one. Evidence of student learning can be either direct (products of actual student work such as papers, presentations, test results, portfolios) or indirect (surveys, interviews, focus groups, student self-reflection). Student learning is best informed by using multiple strategies for collecting evidence and by examining that evidence as a faculty.
Quality criteria and rubrics help calibrate levels of student performance. Rubrics specify criteria that describe the quality of a student’s reasoning, performances, or work products. They are usually arranged in levels that indicate the degree to which learning standards have been met. The type of rubric used is based upon how learning is conceptualized by the program.
Some rubrics are designed to be developmental with levels indicating growth toward an outcome. Other rubric criteria are evaluative and describe the final assessment and mastery of an outcome. Rubrics can be holistic, looking at a student’s performance as a whole, or analytic, identifying and assessing components of that performance.
Protocols for Examination of Student Work (School Reform Initiative)
School Reform Initiative (SRI) is an independent, non-profit, educational organization that promotes professional learning communities. Their work is grounded in the notion that when adults learn together, student success increases. The protocols below are a selection of the structured processes offered by SRI to support productive faculty conversations, build collective understanding, and foster program improvement. They are designed for use by faculty communities of practice at any learning level.
Report & Take Action
An effective cycle of inquiry links the assessment of student learning to program change. In this step we acknowledge successful program practices and/or make program changes to student learning outcomes, curriculum, student orientation procedures, course assignments, faculty development, instructional strategies, etc.
Making good use of assessment involves examining the work of students, analyzing the quality of our programs, and making plans for improvement. We document and report assessment results to tell the stories of our programs, reporting to stakeholders within the university as well as to accrediting agencies and associations. Assessment results are reported to local Chief Academic Officers via an Annual Program Review. Programs also participate in comprehensive reviews with other Antioch University programs in like disciplines. This process and the ways that academic assessment can be used for decision-making processes throughout the University are described in the Antioch University Academic Assessment System & Program Review Manual.
Cycle of Inquiry
Student Learning Outcomes
Collect Data & Analyze Results
Protocols for Examination of Student Work (School Reform Initiative):
Report & Take Action
Antioch University Documents
The links below are official Antioch University documents concerning the policy, practice, administration, and reporting of academic assessment.
Academic assessment is fostered by a network of professional organizations working to develop innovative assessment models and refine assessment practices. The links and bibliography below are a sampling of assessment resources.