Assessment Process for Degree Programs

Michigan Tech has eight University Student Learning Goals (USLGs). The first USLG is "disciplinary knowledge." The remaining seven goals are competencies all students should develop regardless of major, such as communication skills and information literacy.

Assessment of University Student Learning Goals

Degree programs engage in the assessment of both university goals and degree program goals. Degree programs assess university goals according to the following schedule:

  • 2013-14    USLG5 Communication
  • 2014-15    USLG6 Information Literacy
  • 2015-17    USLG3 Global Literacy
  • 2017-19    USLG4 Critical and Creative Thinking
  • 2019-21    USLG8 Social Responsibility and Ethical Reasoning

Starting in 2015, degree programs will be allotted two years to engage in assessment activities for the university goal being assessed university wide, as noted in the above schedule. Degree programs spend the first year planning and reporting only their planned assessment methods. During the second year, degree programs implement their assessment methods, report assessment results and identify action plans for improvement if warranted. Action plans that emerge from this process can then be implemented with re-assessment reporting taking place in future years.

University goal committees have created goal rubrics for each goal, available at For the assessment of USLG3 Global Literacy, instead of trying to assess on all criteria in the university rubric, assessment for just two criteria is quite acceptable, with at least one of them being from the university rubric. The second criterion assessed could be developed by the unit, or it too could come from the university rubric. The reasoning here is to promote and generate unit input as to how Global Literacy is best handled for degree programs. 

Assessment of Goal of Choice

Degree programs also engage in the assessment of a Goals of Choice (GoC). This goal can be either a degree program learning goal or another university goal that has not been assessed recently. Degree programs are asked to identify and use an assessment rubric when assessing their Goal of Choice.


Degree Programs engage in assessment activities and submit reports according to the following timeline, which was revised in Spring 2016:

This timeline reflects a two-year schedule for university goal assessment and degree program goal assessment taking place in units across the university. This timeline spaces the assessment collections so that alternate years can be used for reflection and to close the loop on interventions and changes that are driven by prior assessment results and are intended to improve the degree program’s curriculum. This makes evident the overarching objective of assessment (to improve student learning) and allows time for continuous improvement to happen.

Preparing for Degree Program Assessment

To prepare to engage in assessment, all departments need to do the following for each degree program they offer:

1. Develop learning goals for each degree program. 

Identify what the students will know or be able to do at the end of the course or program. For example, in the biology degree program, students should be able to:

  • Describe basic biological information and concepts.
  • Apply basic biological information and concepts.
  • Conduct original biological research.
  • Report research results orally and in writing to scientific audiences.
  • Apply ethical principles of the discipline in regard to human and animal subjects, environmental protection, use of sources, and collaboration with colleagues.

For additional information and instructions, refer to this workshop presentation on learning goals.

2. Map these program learning goals onto University Student Learning Goals (USLGs).

Place program goals into “best fit” for university goal. Identify where/how this goal is currently assessed. Identify gaps (university goals which are not currently achieved in the program).

Click here for an example of how the Biology learning goals mapped onto the USLGs. Refer to this template for mapping University Student Learning Goals (USLGs).

3. Build a Curriculum Map for each degree program.

Identify which required courses in the curriculum meet which learning goals (disciplinary program goals as well as the non-disciplinary USLGs). This will help you to discover quickly whether there are goals which are not met by your curriculum, or courses offered which do not meet any goals.  It will also help you identify where assessment could take place.  Refer to Curriculum Mapping Resources for additional information.

Degree Program Assessment Reporting

For Fall 2016, degree programs are asked to provide three deliverables, as noted in the timeline, to

Please submit a separate file for each goal reported, whether for plan only, for assessment results or close-the-loop reassessment results.

Assistance with Assessment Reporting

Contact Jeannie DeClerck (487-3041 or for assistance locating past degree program assessment reports and curriculum maps and for help with assessment planning and reporting. Tutorials for using the Excel report template and examples of completed reports are available to assist degree programs in this process. 

Feedback for Degree Program Assessment Reports

Reports are reviewed by the Assessment Council and feedback is provided to degree programs using this feedback rubric