Guidelines for Program Assessment: Goal Attainment

What are the indicators and/or measures of goal attainment?

You might want to assess your students two to four times during their college careers. Practitioners in assessment suggest that you assess

  • at entry level
    Entry-level assessment shows you where students are when they enter your program. You also have a way of showing that they didn't enter your program with the knowledge and abilities you provide.
  • once or twice during the midpoints of the program
    Midpoint assessment is formative in that it allows you to make changes in your program before students have completed it. It helps them to see that assessment is helping them because they get feedback before they are ready to graduate. Many programs assess during the sophomore and the junior year. Data have shown that many programs can find out why students leave their programs or institutions. Often, assessment aids in retention.
  • at exit level
    Exit-level assessment, or "Goal Attainment Assessment," shows that students reached the levels your program set. These assessments are often done in capstone courses or senior projects.

Some Examples of Assessments at Each Level

Entry-level Assessment Midpoint Assessment Exit-level Assessment
Essay included with admission packet or upon admittance to major Paper written in sophomore level class Senior essay or research paper
Essay written during new student orientation Audition pieces or design projects Reflective essays on significant learning or developing criteria for evaluating events or projects in their field