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Annual Reports Section 10 (Assessment)|Assessment of Student Learning


Tier 1 Programs

Tier 2 Programs

Tier 3 Programs

Current Tier Status (Provided by College)

Background and Resources

GENERAL INFORMATION. At UW there is considerable variation in how assessment has progressed in the departments/programs and colleges. Most departments have developed student learning outcomes. Many are the process of collecting and analyzing data while others have progressed to the final steps of the assessment process - using data to make decisions that lead to improvements in learning.

Programs are defined as each individual degree programs offered by a department or unit. This includes majors, minors, bachelor's degree programs (including concentrations), master's degree programs, doctoral degree programs and certificate programs. When developing departmental assessment plans, there is an expectation that each program will be addressed individually. In other words, there cannot be a single assessment plan and strategy that applies to all programs within a department. If there is, then the department has failed to differentiate the distinct learning outcomes for each program.

In addition to clearly stated learning outcomes for each program, departments need to identify what evidence/data will be collected to assess each learning outcome. Evidence can be both direct and indirect. Direct evidence includes the examination of student work while indirect evidence includes student opinions or perspective, for example. A good assessment plan will include both types of evidence.

After a department has successfully collected and compiled its data, faculty should discuss and interpret the data. The final step is to make changes that are informed by your assessment process, which hopefully will lead to improvements in student learning. In the end, the department may amend its learning outcomes or change certain aspects of the assessment process itself.

DOCUMENTATION AND REPORTING. Any good assessment process is well documented. As part of the documentation process, department chairs/heads provide a summary of the department's assessment activities for the year as part of their annual report. Section 10 of the report specifically addresses assessment. Since 2005, departments have been required to submit this report, which is then reviewed by the University Assessment Coordinators who in turn provide specific, written feedback to each department on how assessment can be improved in the upcoming year.

At the end of the 2009-2010 academic year, departments and programs were asked to identify the status of each of their degree programs with regard to assessment, using definitions for Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 programs. Tier 1 programs are those that serve as an assessment model for the rest of the university. Tier 3 programs are those still in the beginning stages of assessment and/or still struggling with assessment. Tier 2 programs are those in between. Department and programs are now asked to report on their progress for  one degree program per year following the applicable Tier 1, 2 or 3 template for their particular program(s).

The information below contains specific instructions for department and program assessment reports. In addition to the report templates for the three tiers, this section contains examples of excellent reports from the prior year as well as information on who to contact for help.  


  • Review the information provided below and take a look at the examples.
  • Review the written feedback you received from the University Assessment Coordinators last year.
  • Talk to your college's assessment coordinator for guidance about which degree program(s) to write about and whether your department should submit a report for more than one degree program. We cannot write a one size fits all piece of advice as the colleges are each organized very differently.
  • Ask your college's assessment coordinator or Erika Prager to review your report in advance of submitting it to determine if you are on track.
  • Please do not wait until the last minute to work on your report. This is something that takes time and with a little feedback on the front end, your report can be significantly improved prior to submission.

Excellent Examples of Reports From Previous Years

Other Helpful Information for All Programs

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