The assessment program at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) aims to promote a culture of continuous improvement. It is an initiative that is an integral aspect of the university’s commitment to sustaining and enhancing academic quality and positive student experience. Prior to 2004, assessment activities at FAMU occurred in various forms within the individual instructional programs and administrative units and in the colleges/schools and divisions. However, there was no uniform, institutional wide assessment system which documented assessment and the use of results for improvement.
The assessment activities permeate all levels of the university and target four primary areas: entry-level knowledge and skills, general education outcomes, program/divisional outcomes, and students, graduates and alumni satisfaction. These efforts span multiple institutional levels - from university-wide assessments to assessments conducted by individual academic programs and administrative and educational support service units. The Provost, who formally oversees the assessment program, instituted the Institutional level Assessment Committee (ILAC) to guide and monitor the assessment efforts and use of assessment results for improvement.
Assessment at FAMU serves three major purposes. The first purpose is program and service improvement aimed at making programs/units (academic majors, general education, certification programs, functional units etc.) more effective. The second purpose is for accountability aimed at demonstrating institutional responsiveness to external constituencies by ensuring that students demonstrate basic academic competencies and skills mandated by state and federal legislators. The third purpose is for institutional effectiveness aimed at meeting requirements of accrediting agencies.
FAMU Assessment Philosophy
At FAMU, assessment is an evolving institutional culture grounded in the institutional values set forth in the mission statement and focused primarily on improving student learning both within and outside the classroom and functional effectiveness. It is an inclusive, participatory, and collaborative process that generates data to be used for multiple purposes that include but are not limited to curricular revision, teaching improvement, accreditation expectations, and public accountability.
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) chose to define assessment as “a systematic process of documenting and analyzing the effectiveness of the teaching and learning processes to ensure that the expectations and standards are met in fulfilling the mission of FAMU. The process includes monitoring and enhancing the administrative and educational support structure that leads to the continuous quality improvement of FAMU's academic programs and administrative and educational support services."
A major goal of assessment at FAMU is to support the university’s mission of “excellence with caring” and accountability to internal and external stakeholders by emphasizing the importance of systematically planning, implementing, analyzing, documenting and reflecting on the results to improve student outcomes and support services effectiveness.
The philosophy of assessment at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University is "fostering a culture of continuous improvement of program offerings and support services to ensure student success and institutional effectiveness.”
Office of University Assessment Mission Statement
Grounded in Florida A&M University (FAMU) Mission Statement, the Office of University Assessment at FAMU is designed to promote excellence in student learning across academic programs and administrative and educational support units. Central to our philosophy and practice is the cultivation of a culture of evidence-gathering through the implementation of a manageable and sustainable assessment process that leads to continuous improvement. Through ongoing training and consultation services, the office operationalizes the development of a university-wide culture of assessment wherein intentional, effective and efficient programs and services can be developed and refined to support the University's mission of excellence.
Consistent with the Mission of the OUA is the achievement of the following goals and objectives.
Academic Improvement - Strengthen the quality of student learning outcomes, reflective of the development of 21st-century skills needed to compete in an increasingly diverse and global society.
- Objective - Develop student learning goals and/or objectives with specific assessment measures consistent with best-practices for each academic program and use results to improve student learning outcomes and teaching effectiveness.
Service Improvement - Strengthen the quality of services provided by educational and administrative support units.
- Objective - Support the development of performance-based strategies and measures to monitor and document efficiency and effectiveness in conjunction with client satisfaction with the quality of services provided.
Accountability - Facilitate the implementation of assessment activities that meet and/or exceed accountability expectations established by the Florida Legislature, Board of Trustees and accrediting and licensing bodies.
- Objective - Facilitate the implementation of activities that will meet and/or exceed the accountability requirements mandated by the Florida Legislature, Board of Trustees and accrediting and licensing bodies.
Communication - Collect, analyze, maintain, communicate and disseminate institutional information to support assessment and general awareness of student learning outcomes and institutional effectiveness.
- Objective - Support assessment committees in promoting communication relative to student learning outcomes across instructional programs, educational and administrative support units.
The specific Objectives of the Office of University Assessment are:
- To provide training to faculty and staff on assessment design and implementation strategies
- To develop and maintain a system of tracking and monitoring assessment and accreditation activities
- To document the results of assessment with emphasis on evidence of students achievement, program outcomes and institutional effectiveness
- To foster the use of assessment results for continuous program/unit improvement
- To disseminate assessment data as appropriate
FAMU Assessment Documentation
FAMU assessment documentation process is guided by the following six-step F.A.M.O.U.S. Assessment Approach: Step 1: Formulate statements of outcomes/objectives aligned to the institutional mission/goals;
Step 2: Ascertain criteria for success;
Step 3: Measure student/service performance using direct and indirect methods;
Step 4: Observe and analyze results for congruence between expected and actual outcomes;
Step 5: Use the results to effect improvement of instructional programs and administrative and educational support services; and
Step 6: Strengthen programs and services by continuously evaluating, planning, allocating resources and implementing new approaches to ensure congruence between expected and actual outcomes