Assessment at Southeast Missouri State University (SEMO)  

Mission of Assessment

To establish a philosophy and practice of continuous improvement with the purpose of improving the quality of student learning and student support services.

Purpose of Assessment

The purpose of assessment is to ensure our students are achieving the outcomes of their specific disciplines in order to be successful in their next destination, be that graduate school, a career, or just personal fulfillment. As part of the assessment function, we have certain criteria we want to clearly demonstrate, and our accreditors require that we can demonstrate these components. They include but are not limited to:

  • Courses and programs are current and require a level of student performance appropriate to the credential awarded
  • Undergraduate, graduate, post-baccalaureate, and certificate programs differentiate learning goals
  • Program quality and learning goals are consistent across all modes of delivery and locations

Southeast's purpose of the assessment process is to enhance and improve educational practices, processes, and policies as a result of evidence-based decision-making and continuous improvement. Documentation of the process and resulting decision-making is important for illustrating organization, transparency, and accountability.

Assessment Cycle

The assessment cycle for Southeast follows a process outlined by many assessment organizations and other institutions, with student learning at the center of our process.

  1. Faculty for each program formulate their learning outcomes that describe what students should be able to do per requirements of their program and/or upon completion of the program. These outcomes are validated through various internal and external constituents such as the university assessment committee, advisory boards, specialized accreditation standards, employer feedback, and/or graduate feedback.
  2. Appropriate measures are selected that support the assessment of students’ performance in meeting the respective outcomes. Benchmarks and levels of success are established for meeting these outcomes.
  3. Data is collected for these measures and aggregated to determine student performance. Programs use a variety of direct, indirect, formative, and summative measures.
  4. Program faculty analyze the data, discussing and documenting the results of the aggregated data on student performance of the identified measures.
  5. Actions for improvement are identified, documented, and implemented in the program/curriculum.
  6. Data is collected as part of the normal assessment cycle; that data is compared to the results of the previously collected data to determine if the new changes resulted in improvements in student performance.
  7. Faculty document those results and assess whether the changes were beneficial and if additional changes need to be made.
  8. The cycle is repeated with the goal of continuous improvement, thus closing the loop on the assessment process.
a diagram of how the assessment cycle works. full description below

The Assessment Cycle diagram provides a visual representation of the assessment process at Southeast. Student Learning is located at the center, modeling how student progress is the top priority of this cycle. The steps of the assessment process, placed in a circular, clockwise rotation, are as follows: Program Learning Outcomes, Measures, Data Collection, Analysis of Data, Actions for Improvement, and Assessment of Change. Double-ended arrows connect this outer circle to its center, showing how assessment and student success are intertwined.

Assessment at Southeast

History and Transition

Assessment at SEMO includes multiple components and phases for a wholistic, comprehensive understanding of the learning and quality of learning of our students.

At the University Level, we conduct comprehensive assessment of our general education program and its seven learning goals. See the General Education Website for more information.

The university requires that all programs and options have defined Program Learning Outcomes (PLO) and that they are assessing student performance and attainment of those outcomes via appropriate measures. All programs have an established assessment cycle and timeline in which they assess student learning and progress toward attainment of the outcomes.

Several programs also have specialized accreditations.

Beginning in 2019, the University began revamping its assessment process to be a more comprehensive approach and to better focus on closing the loop in the assessment process. Previously, the institution was collecting data on all Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs) but the process was not sustainable long-term, nor did it allow for a participatory process that facilitated the improvement of or the assessment of student learning.

Our current process is designed to provide more useful information to programs while encouraging a collaborative approach to assessment and programmatic/curricular decisions.  

Summary of Process

The following provides an overview of the assessment process:

PLOs and Measures   

  • Programs will identify PLOs and establish measures
  • Programs with specialized accreditation can align PLOs with those requirements
  • Unless departments/programs/colleges require it, programs do not need to collect Course Learning Outcomes for every course 
    • Programs should collect specific CLOs that function as a measure for a PLO
  • Measures need established benchmarks of what is considered “meeting” an outcome
  • Outcomes can be aligned with rubrics for assignments, quiz question banks, and discussions in Canvas which will help streamline data collection
    • Not all outcomes and measures can be assessed through Canvas (e.g. licensure exams, surveys, etc.) so programs will establish a procedure for collecting that data and documenting student performance and the discussion of improvements
    • More information on collecting Outcome data in Canvas is available at the Center for Teaching and Learning

Program Assessment: Continuous Improvement Process

  • Programs will determine a cycle for data collection and review of assessment data. 
  • Not every outcome can or will be assessed every semester, depending on course rotation and other factors.
  • After each semester, departments will receive a report on the assessment data collected via Canvas.
  • Departments should regularly discuss assessment in department meetings, analyzing assessment data and making decisions moving forward. These discussions should be documented in meeting minutes.
  • Programs will submit Program Assessment Reports on a two-year cycle.
  • As a requirement for our HLC accreditation, we will submit an assurance report in AY 2023-24. We are on a new pathway after the 2019 review, and we need to be able to demonstrate that we have a robust assessment process in place. 

The Assessment at Southeast Manual provides more detailed information and explanations about institutional and general education assessment.

Program Assessment Timeline 2021-2024

Time/Deadline Assessment Activity
Fall 2021
  • Finish Collecting and Compiling all Program PLOs and Measures 
  • Programs Continue Collecting Data if they have an existing process 
  • Programs identify 1-2 outcomes (at least 2 measures) and start gathering data if they do not already have a defined process
  • Focused trainings for aligning PLOs with assignments in Canvas
  • Establish program assessment cycle
  • Follow up with programs that have not submitted PLOs and Measures
  • Departments complete Faculty Worksheet for PLOs in Canvas
  • Academic Assessment Committee reviews PLOs and Measures and provides feedback to programs
Spring 2022
  • Academic Assessment Committee continues reviewing PLOs and Measures and provides feedback to programs
  • PLOs entered in Canvas so programs can align to assignments/measures
  • CTL provides training to departments on aligning outcomes in Canvas
  • All PLOs, Measures, and Benchmarks Defined and Documented 
  • Programs begin implementing assessment processes, aiming for at least one outcome measured per program   
AY 2022-2023
  • Updates for PLOs and new program PLOs entered in Canvas so programs can align to assignments/measures
  • Departments receive assessment reports from previous semester’s data collection and document discussion
  • All PLOs, Measures, and Benchmarks Defined and Documented 
  • Programs have fully implemented assessment processes  
  • Begin program assessment report cycle
AY 2023-2024
  • Updates for PLOs and new program PLOs entered in Canvas so programs can align to assignments/measures
  • Departments receive assessment reports from previous semester’s data collection and document discussion
  • Programs implement changes based on review of assessment reports
  • Programs have fully implemented assessment processes  
  • Continue program assessment report cycle
Summer 2024
  • HLC Assurance Report due July 22, 2024  

Additional Resources

If you have any questions or would like some assistance with assessment please contact the office of the Vice Provost at 

Academic Hall 130
Mailing Address

One University Plaza, MS 3400
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701