Assessment Framework

Assessment, Timeline, and Elements

Murray State University (MSU) establishes and follows a set of guidelines and criteria to guide the assessment process. In a nutshell, the assessment process at MSU begins within the academic programs and administrative units, where discussions and decisions are made with regard to outcomes, assessment measures, and achievement targets for a particular academic year. Assessment plans are submitted via SPOL (MSU’s assessment platform) by October 1 of each academic year while assessment reports are due on September 15 of the subsequent year. The University Assessment Committee (UAC) reviews and evaluates both assessment plans and reports using an established rubric to help academic programs and administrative units improve their planning and reporting submissions. The assessment process ends and restarts when all changes based on the reported results and analysis are implemented. The graphical representation of MSU’s cyclical assessment process (Figure 1) along with MSU’s assessment timeline (Table 1) are provided below.

Table 1. MSU's Assessment Timeline



People Responsible

October 1

DUE - Assessment plans to SPOL

Assessment Coordinators

October 1 - 31

UAC reviews assessment plans



Implementation of assessment plan

Academic Programs and Departments

Last Friday of August (recommended)

Assessment Day: Closing the Loop

(within programs/units)

- structure, topics, and activities are determined by the Assessment Coordinator

Academic Programs and Departments

September 15

DUE - Assessment reports to SPOL

Assessment Coordinators

September 15 - October 15

UAC reviews assessment reports



Implementation of recommendations and action plans from the assessment report

Academic Programs and Departments

Note: If the due date falls on a holiday or weekend, the required activity is due on the following business day.

Figure 1. MSU Assessment Process


MSU Assessment Process


Assessment Plan and Report Elements

To help you become successful with your program or departmental assessment, clarifying the content and focus of an assessment plan and report is an essential step. By understanding what is included in an assessment plan and looking at what you already have in place, you can begin to think about the effective assessment strategies and activities within your academic program or administrative unit. Table 2 lists the required elements that academic programs and administrative units are expected to submit in SPOL as a part of their annual assessment plans and reports.

Table 2. Required Annual Assessment Plan and Report Components

Assessment Plan Assessment Report
  1. Multiple measures. At the minimum, each identified outcome to assess must have:
    FOR UNITS/DEPARTMENTS: two measures; at least one must be a direct measure
    FOR ACADEMIC PROGRAMS: at least one formative and one summative, one of which must be a direct measure
  2. Criteria for each measure
  3. Planning process narrative
  1. Findings/results associated with the established measure and criteria
  2. Evidentiary documents related to results/findings (optional but recommended)
  3. Outcome analysis of results and use of results
  4. Reporting process narrative

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