Assessment: Continuous Improvement of Student Learning
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Undergraduate Degree Programs

Michigan Tech has eight Undergraduate Student-Learning Goals (USLGs) . The first USLG is "disciplinary knowledge" and is specific to each degree program. The remaining goals are competencies all students should develop regardless of major, and are developed within both the degree and general education programs.

Degree Program Report Depository: Current assessment cycle status, assessment reports, and curriculum maps are available here (log in required).

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Assessment of Undergraduate Student-Learning Goals


Degree programs engage in the assessment of both the USLGs and degree program goals. Degree programs assess USLGs 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 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.

Goal committees have created rubrics for each goal. 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 USLG 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:

Semester Fall Fall Fall Fall Fall Fall
Year 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Submit Plan for: USLG 3   USLG 4   USLG 8  
Submit Assessment Results for:  

USLG 3 +



USLG 4 +



USLG 8 +


Submit Reassessment ("close-the-loop") Report: as appropriate   as appropriate   as appropriate  
Submit Reflection on Assessment Activities for: Cumulative up to Fall 2016   2016-2018 summary   2018-2020 summary  

This timeline reflects a two-year schedule for USLG 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, the biology degree program identified the following program learning goals:

All graduates in Biological Sciences will:

Goal 1 have knowledge of the molecular, cellular, organismal and ecological levels of organization.
Goal 2 increase critical thinking and problem solving skills.
Goal 3 employ the scientific method to synthesize and report results.
Goal 4 apply knowledge to broader global issues.
Goal 5 be aware of the ethical and moral issues in biology.


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

2. Map these program learning goals onto USLGs.

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

  • Template for mapping Undergraduate Student-Learning Goals (USLGs).


Biological Science Program Goal Undergraduate Student-Learning Goal
Students will... maps to...
have knowledge of the molecular, cellular, organismal and ecological levels of organization. USLG 1: Disciplinary Knowledge
increase critical thinking and problem solving skills. USLG 4: Critical & Creative Thinking
employ the scientific method to synthesize and report results.

USLG 5: Communication
USLG 6: Information Literacy

apply knowledge to broader global issues. USLG 3: Global Literacy
be aware of the ethical and moral issues in biology. USLG 8: Social responsibility and ethical reasoning

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

Each degree program has a faculty assessment coordinator. Degree program coordinators can contact Jeannie DeClerck for information on current deliverables and appropriate reporting templates (assembled in a Canvas course).

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