Assessment Tools

Advanced Standing

Advanced standing is a requirement that all undergraduates must meet in order to take upper division CS classes. While there have been slight changes in the requirement over the years, it has been in effect for over a decade. The advanced standing requirement serves as one of the major assessment and quality management tools of the program. It has three components: a coursework requirement; a GPA (Grade Point Average) requirement; and maximum course repeat policy.

  • The coursework requirement for advanced standing is comprised of Computer Science and Mathematics courses as determined by the CS faculty. Students must receive a grade of at least C- in each course.
  • The minimum GPA requirement for all course work at USU is 2.5. This GPA requirement applies to both the advanced standing requirement, and the student’s overall GPA. The advanced standing GPA is computed using courses taken at USU and those specific courses transferred for advanced standing classes. The overall GPA is computed using only the USU GPA.
  • The maximum course repeat policy stipulates that students may have no more than three (3) total forced repeats among required pre-professional courses.. 

Course Examinations and Homework

To a large extent, the content of an examination is the responsibility of the instructor. The Department does not give common exams. Examinations and homework assignments represent an important assessment tool for all courses. Examples of exams and homework assignments for all Computer Science courses are maintained in the Department office and are made available for the ABET review process. These items are central to each instructor’s self-assessment of their course. They also have a significant impact on the grade students receive in a class and thus impact advanced standing. Faculty course self-assessment results are significantly influenced by the performance of students on exams and homework.

Department Faculty Meetings

A very important assessment tool is the discussions that take place during monthly faculty meetings and the yearly Department Retreat. In fact, while the data may come from other sources, all issues concerning the program are discussed during these meetings, and it is in these meetings that decisions are made. Copies of Department meeting minutes are maintained in the Department office and are available to the ABET review team.

Industry Advisory Committee

On a regular basis the Department meets with industry representatives, graduates of our program, and graduate school representatives. During these meetings, discussions are held about our program, the curriculum, graduate goals, etc.

Course Evaluations

Department and University policy requires that student evaluations be given for every course, every semester. While there is little information to be acquired from the evaluations with respect to Department student outcomes, there is feedback given on the quality of the instruction. Quality teaching is an important element of the Department's mission statement. As such, these evaluations represent an important data point or indicator of the quality of instruction in a class. Teacher evaluations are reviewed each semester by the class instructor and by the Department Head.

Course Direct Measures

Process Description: Course Direct Measures (CDMs) are designed to be the assessment points most closely associated with student coursework.

All CDMs share the same Assessment Rubric, but the assignment for an individual problem used to make the assessment, as well as the subjective decision about what criteria is used to make the categorization, is left up to the instructor. Thus, in a very direct sense, these evaluations are the informed opinion of the instructor of record for the course on how well the students' performance on the selected assignment meets the Assessment Rubric.

In practice, many courses are taught by a small subset of the faculty, and so there is some degree of continuity from year to year. The mapping of student outcomes to specific courses for which CDMs are requested is the same as the table provided in Criterion 3.

At the end of the evaluation period, the category percentages and numbers of students in the measure for each CDM is compiled, and the percentage above the expected attainment for that CDM is calculated.

How the process is documented and maintained: The Department Head prepares a report of the CDMs that is presented to the faculty at the annual Fall Retreat, and becomes part of the minutes of the retreat.

Senior Surveys/Exit Interviews

Senior Surveys/Exit Interviews (SESs) are completed by the Assessment Coordination Committee (ACC) every semester, and are due by end of finals week.

Expected Attainment: 80%  of students answer each SO-related question with a response of Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neither Agree nor Disagree, Agree, or Strongly Agree.

How the process is documented and maintained: Each member of the ACC turn in summaries of the interviews they conduct to the ACC chair.  The ACC chair prepares a report of the SESs which is then presented to the faculty at the annual Fall retreat, and becomes part of the minutes of the retreat.