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
- 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.