Assessment Initiative

Graduate students, faculty, staff, and administrators benefit from common language to describe the expectations of graduate courses, milestones, and program requirements.  At TGS, we strive for clarity and transparency around program curricular goals and criteria, and we aim to set clear expectations for students. Assessment at the graduate level has the potential to improve learning and facilitate the academic and professional success of all Northwestern graduate students.

TGS’s Assessment Initiative goals:

1)     To promote transparency in academic learning objectives and assessment criteria.

2)    To empower students by providing language with which they can describe the skills/capacities they have developed through their graduate studies.

3)    To support faculty as they articulate clear learning objectives, implement assessment strategies, and consider potential areas for improvement in graduate curricula.

4)    To position TGS as a leader across Northwestern and in graduate education broadly in creating a culture of transparent learning objectives and assessment strategies, that will also comply with the Higher Learning Commission’s accreditation requests.

As part of this initiative, leaders of all TGS programs (DGSes, Chairs) are encouraged to complete the following learning objectives and assessment strategies document – enumerating the program’s learning objectives, aligning those objectives to program-specific milestones/requirements, and considering assessment criteria and strategies.  This document will then be integrated into the program’s handbook.

The following resources are available to assist program leaders:

  • TGS’s Core Capacities – TGS has defined areas of professional skill, knowledge, and experience required for student success at Northwestern and beyond.
  • Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences – Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences has created resources for faculty across the university to consider learning objectives and curriculum mapping when developing programs.
  • Northwestern’s Assessment for Student Learning - Northwestern University and the Searle Center for Advancing Learning and Teaching offer valuable resources, including individualized assistance, for enacting assessment strategies at the graduate level.

For questions or to request assistance in crafting learning objectives and aligning them to milestones/requirements, please contact Stephanie Brehm, PhD, Program Coordinator for Academic Affairs at The Graduate School.