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Oklahoma State University

Guidelines for Use of Assessment Funds

The following guidelines were established by the OSU faculty Assessment and Academic Improvement Council to describe appropriate uses of assessment funding  for program outcomes assessment or special assessment projects. The Assessment and Academic Improvement Council and Office of University Assessment support outcomes assessment by providing funding to academic units to implement their assessment plans and develop new assessments aimed at evaluating student achievement of expected learning outcomes. 

The following budget guidelines are intended to provide guidance in preparing budget requests for assessment projects and ensure the appropriate use of assessment funds. The Assessment and Academic Improvement Council and the Office of University Assessment and Testing strive to support outcomes assessment by providing funding to academic units and will carefully consider all funding requests. The Assessment and Academic Improvement Council may provide exceptions to the guidelines for requests that will provide a clear benefit to an academic unit’s assessment program.

1. Funding may be provided for any item or activity that is clearly and directly related to assessing student learning in academic programs, particularly student achievement of expected learning outcomes. Funding may not be used for general program development. 

2. Funding may be provided for external reviewers that will provide specific assessment data related to the department’s outcomes assessment plan. For example, funding for an external reviewer to evaluate individual student work and provide information on how OSU students are achieving expected learning outcomes. Funding may not be used for general external program reviews.

3. Funding may be provided for student salaries and benefits if the students are hired to conduct assessment activities. Budget justifications should specify the number of students to be employed, the rate of base pay for each student, the percent of time and duration of employment, the assessment tasks to be completed by the student(s), and the person who will supervise the student(s). GRA/GTA duties must align with Graduate College guidelines for assistantship duties. In general, funding for GRAs/GTAs may not exceed .25 FTE and should not span longer than one semester without clear explanation for why more FTE or months of service are needed. Graduate students may be involved in the assessment of undergraduate student artifacts. Student salaries and benefits should adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Graduate Research Assistants: Graduate student benefits should be calculated using Job Code 'O'. Graduate student pay should be consistent with the pay given to other graduate assistants in the department or with the rate established by human resources. 
  • Student Workers: Hourly student worker benefits should be calculated using Job Code 'W'.

4. Funding may be provided for certification and professional examinations if exam results provide useful information to faculty about students’ achievement of specific program learning outcomes. Funding will not be provided for comprehensive exams or proctoring fees. Funding should not be used for practice exams.

5. Funding may be provided for the purchase of testing instruments, supplies, printing, duplicating, binding, postage, and communications if these items will be used for direct assessment of student learning outcomes.

6. Equipment requests must include a thorough explanation of how the equipment will be used for assessment. Equipment may be funded (or partially funded) only if the program can demonstrate that it will significantly benefit the assessment plan.

7. Software purchased with assessment funds must be for assessment purposes only and requests must include a thorough explanation of how the software will be used for assessment. 

8. Travel for faculty must be directly related to or provide direct and significant benefit to an assessment plan. Requests must thoroughly document why faculty travel is essential to the assessment plan. Travel for conferences will not be funded.

9. Students may not be paid to participate in assessment activities, as per Regent’s policy. Exceptions have been made at the institutional level, but are unlikely at the program level because assessment methods may be imbedded in required courses or program requirements.

10. Faculty or other professional salaries or benefits may NOT be funded from assessment fees.

11. Faculty may be paid a stipend to conduct an assessment as part of an approved assessment plan. Rates for faculty stipends are set campus-wide by the Assessment and Academic Improvement Council. The recommended stipend rate is $15.00 for review of a paper. Benefits should be calculated using Job Code ‘D’.

12. External consultants / reviewers may be paid an honorarium for reviewing student work. Honorarium rates for external consultants should be similar to the faculty stipend rate with consideration given for the additional costs of using external reviewers and the external reviewer’s qualifications. Per diem is not an allowable expense for assessment funds.

13. Funds are contingent upon submission of an Annual Assessment Report. Units receiving funds that fail to submit an Annual Assessment Report by the listed deadline will be required to reimburse funds spent during the year for which no report was received and will be ineligible for assessment funds for the next academic year. Assessment and Academic Improvement Council may consider requests for the restoration of funding if such restoration is desired.

14. Programs receiving assessment funds must have a current (<5 years old) assessment plan on file with UAT at the time the funding request is made. Programs without a current assessment plan on file are not eligible to request or receive funding.

15. Funding must only be used for its approved purpose. Any portion of the funding that is not used WILL NOT be carried over to the next academic year (exceptions may be made for assessment activities occurring over the summer).

16. Any amount charged to the department assessment account that exceeds an awarded budget allocation must be paid back in full by the department to this assessment account before funds will be awarded for future fiscal years. No funds should be spent until after award notifications are distributed. Any exceptions to this procedure must be requested in writing to UAT.

Approved 10/98

Updated 3/2007

Revisions approved 3/2010

Updated 2012; Approved 10/2012

Updated 2/2015; Approved 2/20/2015

Updated and approved 12/2015