Learner Outcomes Assessment


To continually improve student achievement of the College’s student learning outcomes.


The College’s Student Outcomes Assessment Committee (SOAC) operates as subcommittee of the CALS Curriculum Committee.  The SOAC meets independent of the Curriculum Committee and provides an annual report to it concerning the student outcomes assessed in the previous year, the results of that assessment and makes recommendations on changes needed to continually improve student achievement of the College’s core student outcomes.

The SOAC is responsible for assisting the College and programs in designing and implementing sound outcomes assessment practices that improve student learning and continuously improve the College's curricula. The SOAC seeks out best practices in assessment and shares those with the departments in the College. It reviews the College's core outcomes periodically and recommends changes to the College Curriculum Committee.

SOAC Committee Composition and Operations

The committee consists of a representative from each program's student outcomes assessment committee, the College's Associate Dean for Academic and Global programs and the Director of the College’s Student Services Office who chairs the committee. The Associate Dean, Director of Student Services and at least one departmental representative are also members of the College Curriculum Committee.

Committee membership is found at the following site: https://www.cals.iastate.edu/committees/outcomeassessment .

Establishing the College’s Core Outcomes

In the Fall Semester of 2004, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences embarked on a multi-year review of its curriculum. The following is a timeline for that review and the results:

Fall Semester 2004 --
Three faculty forums were hosted by the Dean’s office to begin discussions on the College’s Core Curriculum.

Spring Semester 2005 --
Summaries of the forums were presented to various campus groups including the Dean’s Cabinet, the College Curriculum Committee and the College Outcomes Assessment Committee. In addition, student outcomes were discussed at the college administrative retreat in April 2005. Result: The summary can be viewed at the following site: fall2004ForumResults.pdf

Spring Semester 2006 --
Additional faculty forums co-hosted by the College Curriculum and Outcomes Assessment Committees were planned.

First forum --
On February 15, a panel of stakeholders provided feedback on the College’s current set of core outcomes. Faculty members discussed the needs of future College of Agriculture and Life Sciences graduates with the panel. Presentations by panel members: COA Forum Life Sciences, COA Forum Demographics, COA Curriculum Forum Notes, and COA Curriculum Forum Q&A.

Second forum --
On April 13, the Outcomes Assessment Committee will summarize departmental data about the current set of core outcomes and present it at this forum.

Fall Semester 2006 --
Based on the data gathered at the faculty forums and by individual departments, the Outcomes Assessment Committee will make recommendations to the Curriculum Committee about adding, deleting or maintaining individual outcomes in the core. The Curriculum Committee will submit a set of core outcomes for faculty vote.

Spring Semester 2007 --
The core outcomes will be mapped with the College core course requirements. The Curriculum Committee will make any necessary adjustments in the core course requirements to better enable students to achieve the core outcomes.

Fall Semester 2007 --
Faculty approved the revision to the core outcomes