Assessment Resources

Assessing academic programs and student learning outcomes in communication is a challenge. NCA supports communication colleagues as they develop, design, and redesign assessment programs on their campuses. Resources below focus on two areas of assessment: program review and student learning outcomes assessment. NCA’s standards for program review and assessment provide a guide for reviewing undergraduate departments of communication. Another resource focuses on what communication majors should be expected to know and how to assess that knowledge.

Report of the July 2000 Hope College Conference on
Designing the Undergraduate Curriculum in Communication

This report, generated by the NCA co-sponsored Institute for Faculty Development in 2000, summarizes eight learning goals for the communication major and provides suggestions for how to to achieve them.

Speaking and Listening Competencies for College Students
This document summarizes two sets of competencies for college students, as developed by various communication scholars, federal government agencies, and research centers. The competencies primarily represent speaking and listening skills that could help undergraduates communicate more effectively at school, in the workplace, and in society. First published in 1998, the document was reviewed and reaffirmed by NCA's Educational Policies Board in the Spring of 2012.

Guidelines for Program Review  
Program review requires departments to assess the effectiveness of their curriculum, teaching effectiveness of the faculty, and student learning outcomes. How this review is conducted varies from institution to institution. Some provide departments with a specific set of review questions to be used in a self-study, while others are more “gestalt” in their requirements for a departmental self-study. Still other institutions follow guidelines proscribed by their regional accrediting association.

Assessment Related Publications 

A Communication Assessment Primer
A Communication Assessment Primer is an excellent resource for any department that wants to improve student learning by developing effective assessment programs. This publication is designed to help communication departments create the right assessment program and ensure that their students are learning everything they need to know. Edited by Phil Backlund, Ph.D., and Gay Wakefield, Ph.D., each chapter is written by professors who have extensive interest in, and experience with, successful assessment programs.

Assessing Motivation to Communicate
The essential tool for communication apprehension assessment includes a lecture guide for instructors, directions for administrators, and 20 communication related articles that can be used in class. This publication also includes the Personal Report on Communication Apprehension and Willingness to Communicate, two tools for assessing communication apprehension.

The Competent Speaker Speech Evaluation Form
This resource for teachers and administrators can be used to evaluate persuasive speeches in class; for testing-in or testing-out (placement) purposes; as a tool for instructing and advising students; and to generate assessment data for departmental or institutional accountability.

Conversational Skills Rating Scale: An Instructional Assessment of Interpersonal Competence
A multi-trait, multi-method approach to interpersonal communication competence. Clearly written with a thorough research base, this publication includes sample forms that can be copied and used in the classroom.