MSCS Assessment Plan

The goal of student learning assessments is to evaluate and improve our existing program in response to students' needs and achievements and, therefore, ensure quality education at Cal Poly Pomona. The assessment plan for the Master of Science program in Computer Science (MSCS) consists of the following three parts:

A. Define program learning outcomes
B. Develop assessment procedures and questionnaires
C. Use assessment results to drive continuous program improvement

A. Program Learning Outcomes

Our graduate program provides courses for advanced education in Computer Science and affords opportunities to conduct research. It is our objective to help students achieve a high level of professional competence and lifelong learning. Cal Poly Pomona MSCS graduates will

. Demonstrate advanced knowledge in algorithm design and analysis
. Demonstrate advanced knowledge in computer architecture
. Demonstrate advanced knowledge in software systems
. Demonstrate focused knowledge in areas of specialization in computer science
. Demonstrate ability to analyze and use existing CS literature
. Demonstrate ability to identify, formulate and solve problems within the discipline
. Demonstrate effective written communication skills
. Demonstrate effective oral communication skills

B. Assessment Procedures

This section describes our methodology and sources of data. The sources of data utilized in assessment of student learning outcomes include feedback from students, instructors, thesis advisors and committee members, employers, and alumni. Student data sources are further divided into students who are near their graduation and students at other stages in their graduate careers.

Required graduate courses will be evaluated. For each course, a set of course objectives, syllabus, assignments, and examinations will be maintained. We allow the course instructor to define course objectives and learning outcomes they want to evaluate based on their coverage of the topic and pedagogy. The effectiveness of the instruction would be measured by the performance of the students via samples of students' work.

The effectiveness of the program to teach students to do independent research and solve problems within the discipline will be measured by the publication records of the students and the corresponding survey results from thesis advisors and committee members.

The efficacy of the program will be measured by employer feedback and the placement record of the MSCS students. The overall structure of the program will be monitored by feedback from the graduating students as well as alumni feedback.

The following is the summary of our evaluation strategies:

1. Course Evaluations
. To be done for all required graduate courses
. Instructors evaluate the course based on the defined program learning outcomes, course objectives, assignments, examination, and students' work.

2. Evaluation of Student Achievement
. To be done at oral thesis defense
. Along with the report of culminating experience, thesis advisor and committee members will fill out a standard form to evaluate the student.

3. Graduating Student Survey
. To be done at oral thesis defense
. The students at defense will complete a standard questionnaire form to evaluate our program.

4. Alumni/Employer Feedback
. Every two years
. Alumni and employers fill a standard form to evaluate if the defined program outcomes are reasonable and if courses and curriculum support the outcomes.

The forms and questionnaires appended to this plan include: Course Evaluations, Evaluation of Student Achievement, Graduating Student Survey, Alumni Feedback, and Employer Feedback.

Form 1: Course Evaluations
Form 2: Evaluation of Student Achievement
Form 3: Graduating Student Survey
Form 4: Alumni Feedback
Form 5: Employer Feedback

Completed forms and course materials are collected, labeled and given to the graduate coordinator. The Graduate Assessment Committee will analyze the results and incorporate them into the annual assessment report.

C. Use of Assessment Results for Improvement

We believe no program is perfect. We consider our program assessment as an opportunity for (1) necessary course and curriculum update to reflect current literature, technologies and practices, and (2) stronger and more meaningful relationships with Advisory Board, alumni and employers.

The defined program learning outcomes measure student knowledge and skills. The outcomes are expected to be achieved by students before graduation. However, we evaluate evidence at various points throughout the program. This ensures that if an outcome is not achieved by students, we can identify and address the problem early, recommend improvements, and/or refocus the evaluation process for the next academic year.