What are numeric criteria for academic programs?

Setting numeric criterion is an essential part of an assessment plan. For each measurement, program faculty should set satisfactory performance criteria. A numeric criterion is a short statement describing the level of performance which will indicate that the program is successful in achieving the outcome. A numeric criterion helps a program determine whether or not a change in the curriculum is warranted. If a numeric criterion is met, then faculty should be satisfied with the level of student performance on the outcome and may decide the outcome does not need to be measured again for a while. If a numeric criterion is not met, then program faculty should discuss the results and come up with a continuous improvement plan to enhance student performance on that particular student learning outcome.

Because the assessment focus is on programs and not students, program faculty should set a minimum number of students who will exhibit acceptable performance to judge that the program has achieved a specific outcome. For example, 85% of students will achieve a score of 3 or above on the rubric.

If a program is struggling with how high to set a numeric criterion for an outcome that has not been measured before, they might consider collecting some baseline data to help them establish a reasonable and realistic criterion.

Regardless of whether or not the numeric criterion was met for a particular outcome, programs are asked to reflect on and document how the outcome can continue to be improved in the annual continuous improvement report.