Assessment of Learning Outcomes

Undergraduate Assessment Measures

The School of Journalism and Mass Communications applies three direct measures and three indirect measures to assess the learning outcomes of students. These measures include:

Internship Evaluations (direct measure)

Although students are not required to experience a professional internship, 89 percent of students have one or more internships while in our program. Each semester, the School’s Career and Outreach Center gathers feedback from internship supervisors following the completion of the internships. The School collects and analyzes the data to measure the level of student preparedness and performance in the professional internship setting. The aggregate analysis shows strengths and weaknesses in the curriculum.

Career and outreach coordinator will be responsible for:

  • administering the Intern Supervisor Assessment document to employers, collect and analyze findings, then prepare an aggregate report annually for the associate dean for student success, who will share with the dean and the Curriculum and Assessment Committee. Results will be shared at the first faculty meeting in the fall semester.
  • administering the Student Intern Assessment to students, allowing them to assess their own learning. Both will be administered via the Qualtrics platform.

Forms for employers and students should be reviewed by the associate dean for student success and career coordinator to ensure that they have some similarities. This allows us to see if/how students’ views on their own learning compare with employers’ views on student performance.

We will add open-ended questions to each assessment form.

  • For students: What were some important things you learned during your internship? What do you wish could have been different? How will you use your internship experience for future employment?
  • For employers: Are there issues or concerns you’d like to share about student technical and personal skills? Areas for improvement? Areas in which students did well?

e-Portfolio Evaluations (direct measure)

Professional evaluation of e-portfolios provides essential feedback to determine the writing, information gathering, and technological skills of our students. Students should have a portfolio entry for every SJMC course.  Capstone courses in the concentrations require students to produce e-portfolios of their work. The e-portfolios are evaluated by professional journalists, who are asked to complete an evaluation form. Culminative data is collected and analyzed to determine strengths and weaknesses of the e-portfolios and the capstone course.

We also evaluate capstone courses for meeting KU’s Core Curriculum Goal 6 (Integration and Creativity). As part of our KU Core assessment, professors evaluate final projects, using the KU Core rubric for Goal 6. We collect data each semester. Students with the strongest portfolios will be celebrated in the Monday Memo, social media and a presentation in front of a school assembly.

Project Evaluations (direct measure)

Students in the Digital Marketing Communications, Advertising & Public Relations concentration are required to enroll in the capstone course JMC 640 Strategic Campaigns. Students work in groups with a professional client to develop a strategic marketing campaign. Groups pitch their final projects to the professional client, and the client provides feedback identifying the strengths and weaknesses of each group’s project.

Alumni Survey (indirect measure)

After gaining professional experience, alumni have perspective about how well the School’s curriculum prepared them for their work. Every three years, the School conducts an alumni survey asking former students about the strengths and weaknesses of the program. The collection, analysis and reporting of data can provide perspective about curriculum, instruction and student learning. The associate dean for undergraduate studies will work with the career/outreach coordinator and KU Alumni Association to recruit alumni for the survey. An online survey instrument is used to collect and analyze data. The associate dean will collect, analyze and report data and share with the dean, the Curriculum and Assessment Committee and the faculty. The associate dean will work with the CAC to put out a call to alumni during those years to participate in a zoom focus group related to alumni perspectives.

Student Internship Review (indirect measure)

Each semester, the School’s Career and Outreach Center gathers feedback from students about their internship experience. The review examines students’ preparedness for the internship and the professional aspects of the internship. The School collects, analyzes and reports the data to measure the level of student preparedness and value of the internship experience. The aggregate analysis shows strengths and weaknesses in the curriculum. The career and outreach coordinator will collect data and report to the associate dean, the Curriculum and Assessment Committee and the faculty.

Student Competitions (indirect measure)

Student success can be determined by comparing their work to other students in regional and national competitions. Regionally, the School submits students’ work to the Kansas Association of Broadcasters, the Society of Professional Journalists competition, the Kansas Collegiate Media, and the Great Plains Awards among others. Nationally, students compete in the Hearst Intercollegiate Journalism Awards, Jim Murray Memorial Award, College Media Association, and College Media Business & Advertising Partners, among others. The compilation, comparison and analysis of student competitions provide valuable information about the instruction and experiences the School provides. The associate dean for student success will collect data on student awards.

Review and Implementation

The associate dean for student success will present a report on assessment findings at each fall retreat. The associate dean, working with the dean, the Curriculum and Assessment Committee, the career/outreach coordinator, and advising office, will summarize key findings and discuss with faculty on what students are learning well, where there are areas for improvement, opportunities for change in curriculum, and how to “close the loop.”

Timeline for assessment measures implemented since the preceding accreditation site visit:

 Supervisor internship evaluationse-Portfoilio evaluationsProject evaluationsAlumni surveyStudent competitionsStudent internship evaluations
2017-18XXX XX
2019-20XXX XX
2020-21XXX XX
2022-23XXX XX

Future assessment implementation:

 Supervisor internship evaluationse-Portfoilio evaluationsProject evaluationsAlumni surveyStudent competitionsStudent internship evaluations
First yearXXX XX
Second yearXXXXXX
Third yearXXX XX
Fourth yearXXX XX
Fifth yearXXXXXX
Sixth yearXXX XX

Annual Course Evaluations

The procedure is as follows:

  • The Curriculum and Assessment Committee will train instructors by facilitating an annual workshop about methods and requirements for assessment.
  • During the spring semester, the CAC will receive from instructors reports of undergraduate course assessment results. Evaluations are due on the first Monday of February from the previous two semesters and summer.
  • In discussion with the faculty members, the CAC committee will identify areas of concern and suggest instructional modifications.
  • At a faculty meeting in the fall semester, the CAC committee will make a summary presentation of the assessment results and recommended actions.

Closing the Loop

If assessment shows problems within a class not meeting learning outcomes, a CAC subcommittee works with the instructor or class coordinator (with multi-section classes) to create solutions. Solutions, such as adjusting assignment(s), should take place before the next semester courses begin. If more comprehensive adjustments are needed, the CAC will ask the instructor(s) for changes no later than the following semester for implementation.

Adopted March 2019, revised December 2022