Assessment Overview

University Student Learning Goals

Assessment of student learning is critical to continuous improvement of academic quality. To develop an intentional program of assessment, Michigan Tech established eight University Student Learning Goals (USLGs) that all Michigan Tech undergraduates should achieve by the time they graduate.

The Michigan Tech Assessment Council is charged with oversight and integration of assessment activities across campus. Since many Michigan Tech degree programs are professionally accredited, the Council also works to balance the requirements of professional accreditation with university student learning goals.

University Student Learning Goal Committees

To help faculty understand the goals and integrate learning opportunities in their programs and courses, Goal Committees have been appointed by the Provost with Senate representation. Each committee develops Michigan Tech rubrics for assessment based on VALUE rubrics, identifies pathways for degree programs to achieve the goals, provides workshops, maintains a Canvas resource page to assist faculty, and has oversight for assessment of their designated goal.

General Education Assessment

The General Education Program lays the foundation for learning. Students are introduced to the University Student Learning Goals in the general education core courses required for all students in their first two years at Michigan Tech. All general education courses are expected to meet specified goals. The General Education Program is designed to help students achieve Goals 2-6 and 8 at the developing or proficiency levels. Goals 1 and 7 are achieved in the degree programs.

Student work produced in general education is assessed using the Michigan Tech rubrics. For additional information, see the General Education and Assessment Canvas page.

Degree Program Assessment

All degree programs have established clear and measurable learning goals that identify what students should know or be able to do by the time they graduate from the program. These program learning goals are disciplinary goals (USLG 1) to be achieved through the degree program’s curriculum. Degree programs may also identify other University Student Learning Goals as program goals. Degree programs assess at least two learning goals annually – one program goal and one USLG. The process for undergraduate program assessment is detailed on its own page.

Although a particular USLG may not be a stated program learning goal, all degree programs are expected to provide opportunities to reinforce and practice the USLG competencies introduced by the General Education Program, as well as help students learn how these competencies are achieved in the disciplinary context. The Annual Degree Program Assessment Report asks degree programs to identify where in their programs this occurs and could be assessed.

Course Learning Goals

The Syllabus Requirement for All Courses at Michigan Tech states that every course taught at Michigan Tech must have clearly stated learning goals or objectives. These learning goals should align with degree program goals or USLGs. Proposals for new courses should identify which university and/or program learning goals are met by the course.

Example: Integrating University and Departmental Goals

Students will learn fundamental competencies of Communication (Goal 5) in at least two General Education courses. 

This table shows how the general education program and degree programs work together to help students achieve the USLGs at appropriate levels in order to graduate with proficiency in all goals.  

University Student Learning Goals Developing
Level 2
Level 3
Level 4
1. Disciplinary knowledge -- -- Achieved in all Majors
2. Knowledge of physical and natural world GEN ED STEM GEN ED STEM Achieved in designated majors
3. Global literacy


  • UN1025
GEN ED HASS Achieved in designated majors 
4. Critical and creative thinking


  • Goal 4
GEN ED HASS Achieved in designated majors
5. Communication


  • UN1015
GEN ED HASS Achieved in designated majors
6. Information literacy


  • UN1015
  • UN1025
Achieved in all majors Achieved in designated majors 
7. Technology -- Achieved in all majors Achieved in designated majors 
8. Social responsibility and ethical reasoning


  • Goal 8
GEN ED HASS Achieved in designated majors

Faculty in degree programs will need to consider how students will develop and apply these competencies in their degree programs and learn the conventions of their discipline for written and oral communication. The table below provides an example of different levels of communication-based student learning goals.

Examples of Institutional, Program, and Course Level Goals

Goal 5 Communication
Institutional level University Student Learning Goal 5a: Students will be able to communicate effectively in writing and in new media, to a wide variety of audiences.
Program level Degree Program Learning Goal: Students who complete the business major will communicate effectively to professional and lay audiences using the common business formats.
Course Level Course Learning Goal (as might appear on a syllabus): Students who complete this finance course will be able to write accurate and complete financial reports.

Faculty can map their curriculum to identify courses that require students to produce written work (such as lab reports or research projects) or oral communication (such as presentations) and assure that students receive clear expectations for communication in the discipline and feedback on their work. These artifacts of student work will be used for assessment.