Executive Summary Assessment Plan
This Assessment Plan describes how the Simon Business School conducts its assurance of learning (AOL) processes to further our mission—to develop business leaders who have an exceptional level of clarity about business and about themselves.
Each of our graduate business programs, and the undergraduate business program, have broad learning goals. The learning goals state the educational expectations for each degree program, and specify the intellectual and behavioral competencies a program is intended to instill. In defining these goals, the faculty members clarify how they intend for graduates to be competent and effective as a result of completing the program.
The Graduate Curriculum Committee (GCC), the Senior Associate Dean of Faculty and Research, the Senior Associate Dean of Education and Innovation, and the Faculty Directors and Committees for each Program own the plan for AOL. These parties use well-documented, systematic processes for determining and revising degree program learning goals; designing, delivering, and improving degree program curricula to achieve learning goals; and assessing how well degree program learning goals are met. This overall process is reviewed periodically to provide a perspective over time.
Assessment of learning operates through multiple activities. First, the program goals and more detailed program objectives are mapped to courses, which in turn have learning objectives. Each instructor assesses whether students meet the course learning objectives via student grades on tests, examinations, reports, presentations and projects. Second, student learning outcomes are assessed via summative experiences such as a project course that integrates across program learning objectives. Third, indirect and external assessments are used to evaluate the desired student competencies through, for example, post-internship self-assessments and hiring manager assessments.
In addition, program assessments of student learning related to specific program changes—such as the impact of the switch to HyFlex during COVID or changes to core courses in a programming language—lead to more directed assessments within courses and via surveys to provide even richer data to direct improvements. Such AOL and related program reviews are completed on a cyclical basis based on the program needs and broader stakeholder feedback that identified concerns or opportunities for improvement. For example, AOL is used extensively in an examination of a program overhaul, and then again quite extensively to determine the effects of those changes.
The direct and indirect measures of student learning discussed above are also augmented by other indirect measures used to evaluate both student learning and program operations. Student course evaluations are collected at the end of each course and toward the end of each program. These evaluations which contain both quantitative evaluations and open-ended questions are indirect learning assessment measures. The course evaluations are carefully reviewed by the Deans and the faculty. The written comments in the student evaluations often provide information that is useful in continuously improving the quality of the course. The Dean provides public recognition for outstanding evaluations, and the Dean initiates corrective action for consistent poor evaluations.
Curricula management captures input from key business school stakeholders and is influenced by assurance of learning results, new developments in business practices and issues, and other changes such as modifications to our mission and strategy. These stakeholders include organizations employing our graduates, and our alumni and students. We interact with these stakeholders regularly as an input to our assessment of learning as well as need to adjust curricula. The historical record of direct course assessments, overall student grades, student course evaluations, and program assessments is used to create broader context for specific feedback from stakeholders.
Our processes produce a portfolio of documented improvements based on collected evidence. This starts with our systematic collection of data as described above, including both the direct and indirect measures of learning, and is enhanced by various informal data collection. For example, discussions and focus groups with recruiters and alumni are used to provide an indication of student readiness for the job interview and the job requirements (measured individually and compared to students and graduates from other schools). The Simon School also compares itself with the business educational market by carefully monitoring industry surveys such as the three Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) surveys (employer-recruiter, prospective student and alumni surveys). This data is used to provide additional perspective on the systematic direct and indirect AOL data collection.