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.

The faculty responsible for the degree program are expected to engage in the following annual cycle of assessment:

  • Assess at least two learning goals annually, preferably using direct measures of student learning (embedded measures utilizing student work).  One goal is a prescribed USLG on the following schedule:
    • 2013-14    Communication
    • 2014-15    Information Literacy
    • 2015-17    Global Literacy
    • 2017-18    Critical and Creative Thinking
    • 2018-19    Social Responsibility and Ethical Reasoning

  The second goal can be a program goal (USLG #1 Disciplinary goals) or another USLG that has not been 
   assessed recently.

  • Analyze results of the assessment activity. 
  • Identify actions to improve learning.  
  • Report results and actions planned to the Assessment Council by October 1 of the following academic year. 

During the next assessment cycle beginning in the fall, faculty are expected to:

  • Implement actions identified the previous year to improve learning.
  • Reassess to determine whether they improved learning.  If not, faculty should consider why not, and identify other actions to improve student performance or reconsider the learning goal being assessed.
  • Start the new assessment cycle with two new goals.

This practice of identifying goals, assessing results, generating activities for improvement, and assessing results again (to determine whether improvement occurred) is called “closing the loop.”

Preparing for Annual 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.

Annual Assessment Report

Assess two learning goals every year.  How can student learning be verified and measured?  Please use the following Assessment Annual Report template and submit it to

Degree Program Assessment Annual Report Template with Instructions 
Degree Program Assessment Annual Report Template

Rubric for Assessment Annual Report


1. Identify the type of assessment:

  • Direct/embedded assessment in existing course – e.g., course exam in XX2500, written assignment inYY4200, portfolios, presentations, etc., which can be evaluated using a rubric
  • Direct assessment, not in course, e.g., professional competency examination, major field test
  • Indirect assessment, e.g. exit interview, alumni survey

2. Briefly describe the assessment activity.

3. State the target expectation for the assessment - e.g. 80% of students will achieve a 3/literate on the rubric

4. Identify which University Student Learning Goal is associated with this program goal.



__ Course Direct

__ Other Direct

__  Indirect


Brief description:




University Goal:


5. Close the Loop. Evaluate results of assessment, identify any deficiencies, take action to improve, and repeat assessment in subsequent academic year. Use the Annual Assessment report template to Identify results and actions planned to improve:








__ Course Direct

__ Other Direct

__  Indirect


Brief description:




University Goal:

  Date:   Date:
6. Submit your assessment report to