The essential nature of program-level assessment is to inform program faculty about student learning and identify opportunities to strengthen learning in the program.
The primary venue for discussion and use of results is within the program and department. Academic program assessment is usually a summative assessment of program outcomes that are couched in discipline specific venues. However, at various times it may be appropriate and even desirable to implement academic program assessment in courses or structures that are not ‘capstone’ in nature. For example, assessment may be focused at a particular lower-division course in an effort to strengthen an identified area for growth in student learning; to determine if curricular changes are effective.
While primarily used for internal improvement, academic program assessment is reported as a measure of compliance to the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), and in some programs for professional accreditation.