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Office of Assessment of Teaching and Learning About Assessment

Assessment of Student Learning

Assessment is the practice of identifying student learning outcomes, measuring/observing student progress toward learning outcomes, and using that information to improve student learning. Student learning assessment occurs at the course, program, and institutional levels.

Program Assessment

For effective program assessment, programs and faculty systematically collect information about student learning, regularly discuss results, and use that information to guide decisions that affect teaching and learning in the curriculum and the student experience in the program. Assessment allows programs to examine key areas including curriculum design, instructional effectiveness, and student experience.

Assessment at WSU

WSU has a centrally coordinated yet highly flexible system for assessment of student learning. Departments and faculty have primary responsibilities to develop, implement, and use meaningful, sustainable assessment in degree programs, in ways that address their unique needs and contexts within frameworks of good practice:

  • Faculty drive the assessment of student learning. They have a central role in identifying questions, conducting assessment, and interpreting results.
  • Departments should review and discuss assessment results, direct and indirect measures of student performance, and institutional data, to evaluate student learning (including all campuses and online).
  • Chairs and directors are responsible for implementing and using assessment of student learning in their programs and departments.
  • Undergraduate programs are required to have student learning outcomes, an assessment plan, a curriculum map, direct and indirect measures, and use of assessment. ATL supports programs wanting to develop or revise these elements, see Key Assessment Elements at WSU.
  • Other tools designed to help WSU programs include the Wheel of Assessment Roles and Flowchart of Reporting. For good practices in program assessment see our list of Best Practices and other Assessment Resources.
  • Degree programs, including professionally accredited programs, report annually on assessment. See annual WSU-wide program assessment summaries.

The Office of the Provost oversees assessment across the university. ATL provides support for undergraduate programs and faculty, while the Graduate School supports assessment in graduate and professional degree programs. For more information, please see:

Washington State University