Assessment of Student Learning
UW-Madison's accrediting agency, the Higher Learning Commission, defines assessment of student learning as a "participatory, iterative process" that:
- Provides data/information needed regarding student learning;
- Engages the institution (faculty, staff, students) in analyzing and using this data/information to confirm and improve teaching and learning;
- Produces evidence that students are learning the outcomes identified by the faculty;
- Guides educational and institutional improvement; and
- Helps the institution understand, evaluate and document whether changes made affect student learning
This iterative process asks a series of "Fundamental Questions, including:
- How are your stated learning outcomes appropriate to your mission, programs, students and degrees?
- How do you ensure shared responsibility for student learning & assessment of student learning?
- What evidence do you have that students achieve your stated learning outcomes?
- In what ways do you analyze and use evidence of student learning?
- How do you evaluate and improve the effectiveness of your efforts to assess and improve student learning?
In the course of an accreditation review, external consultant/evaluators will gauge the extent to which the university has engaged in assessment for purposes of improving student learning, and used what we find to improve student learning.
The Provost's Office coordinates processes for preparing and submitting assessment plans, reviewing and approving learning outcomes for courses and programs, and submission of annual reports on assessment activities. For more information about assessment of student learning, please consult the Provost's Office of Student Learning Assessment.