August 14, 2017

2017-2020 Assessment

2017-2020 Mason Core Assessment Cycle

Between fall 2017 and fall 2020, a complete assessment cycle will be conducted for all of the Mason Core categories. The assessment will include all Mason Core courses taught on all of Mason’s campuses (Fairfax, Arlington, Mason Korea, and Science and Technology), and Mason Core courses taught both face-to-face and online. Two categories, Written Communication and Oral Communication, completed large-scale, comprehensive learning outcomes assessments during AYs 2016-2017; these results will be shared using the new reporting template. Two or three Mason Core categories will participate each semester (see Assessment Schedule).

We are currently engaged in the 2017-2020 Assessment Cycle. Learn more on the 2017-2020 Assessment page, or download the full assessment plan [link to pdf].

Course Portfolios

This assessment cycle will have three main emphases: assistance to faculty with assignment design to support Mason Core student learning outcomes, direct assessment of student work, and use of results for improvement. To accomplish these aims, Mason Core faculty will be expected to:

  1. participate in a pre-assessment workshop in the week preceding, or just after the start of the assessment semester, to focus on
    1. student learning outcomes and syllabus messaging,
    2. assignment design, and
    3. student learning assessment;
  2. prepare a course portfolio due at the end of the assessment semester, to include
    1. course syllabus that messages to students how the course assignments align to the learning outcomes,
    2. one assignment that clearly demonstrates at least one of the Mason Core learning outcomes, and
    3. randomly selected student work using the identified assignment;
  3. participate in a post-assessment meeting in the following semester that will focus on individual and aggregate results of the assessment, and use of results to promote improvement.

All Mason Core faculty in the targeted assessment semester will submit a course portfolio at the end of the semester, as defined above. Faculty who participate in all three activities listed above will be eligible to receive professional development funds from the Provost’s office following completion of the post-assessment meeting.

Student Survey

In addition to the course portfolio, all students enrolled in the Mason Core category being assessed will receive a brief survey at the end of the semester to rate their own learning on the student learning outcomes. This indirect measure will serve as triangulation for the direct measures, and provide important information to course faculty.

Faculty Survey

Mason Core faculty will be surveyed two semesters following their assessment semester. The purpose of the survey will be to learn how faculty have used the assessment results to improve course design, assignment design, or student learning assessment in their courses. The two-semester period is necessary to provide enough time between the experience and feedback from reviewers to be able to implement changes in their Mason Core courses. The faculty survey results will be used in the overall program assessment.

Peer Review of Course Portfolios

Course portfolios will be reviewed by peers, to include Mason Core committee faculty, and faculty who teach Mason Core courses. Reviewers will use one rubric to evaluate the course syllabus for demonstration of student learning outcomes, the appropriateness of the course material for the Mason Core curriculum, and the appropriateness of the assignments or forms of assessment in relation to the learning outcomes. Reviewers will use a second rubric to assess student learning on the identified outcome(s). Reviews will take place in January and June 2018, and January and June 2019 (see Assessment Schedule). 


Planning—Summer and Fall 2017

  • Meet with key faculty, course coordinators, and department chairs
  • Develop pre-assessment workshop, faculty resources and materials
  • Develop rubrics and reporting template
  • Create system for submitting portfolios

Assessment Period—Fall 2017-Fall 2019

See Assessment Schedule for detail

 Analysis and Reporting—Fall 2019-Spring 2020

  • Prepare Mason Core full program assessment report
  • Prepare SCHEV reports as required
  • Prepare SACSCOC report (Principle 8.2.b)

Reflection and Re-Development—Spring and Summer 2020

  • Meetings with faculty and Mason Core committee
  • Map curricular changes
  • New/revised assessment plan developed around new needs and priorities

Pilot/Launch New/Revised Assessment Plan—Spring 2020

For more information about Mason Core assessment, contact Stephanie Foster,