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Outcomes Assessment

The following web-based resources are intended to offer assistance as departments with undergraduate majors create and maintain plans to assess student learning outcomes. Although outcomes assessment at The University of Iowa focuses on local practices and disciplinary norms, examples of assessment processes and plans from other universities might facilitate faculty conversations about desired outcomes, provide suggestions for meaningful assessment methods, and foster development of useful assessment plans. To the extent that UI faculty are curious about the effects of their undergraduate majors and want to satisfy that curiosity based on evidence, the work involved in developing assessment plans is meaningful work. In the end, I am convinced that the work will pay off for our students. Please let me know how I can help as we move forward.

Tom Rocklin
Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education

Question? E-mail


On this page:



Arizona State University - The website for ASU’s Office of University Assessment offers a wide range of helpful information about outcomes assessment in general and at Arizona State in particular. is the link to ASU’s assessment manual. includes plans and reports (pdf format) for some ASU departments.

Bowling Green State University - This site identifies outcomes and assessment information for a wide range of majors, including examples of assessment plans in varied stages of development.

George Mason University - Mason’s site provides specific examples of departmental outcomes, assessment methods, assessment results, and actions taken as a result of assessment.

Georgia State University - This is Georgia State’s “on-line guide to developing and assessing learning outcomes,” including tools and templates for departmental assessment plans. offers a rubric for developing department plans and describes specific assessment plans for majors by college.

Indiana University- Purdue University at Indianapolis - Scroll down about half-way to find a link to School (e.g., Business, Education, Engineering, Liberal Arts, Nursing, Science) Assessment Reports for academic years 2001-2002 through 2004-2005, including departmental learning outcomes and assessment methods.

Iowa State University - Iowa State’s assessment site includes general information about assessment in the context of accreditation, as well as ISU’s self-study for 2006 HLC accreditation. - Learning outcomes and assessment plans by College (e.g., Agriculture, Business, Design, Engineering, Human Sciences, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Veterinary Medicine) and department-level assessment plans within Agriculture, Design, LAS, and Human Sciences.

Kansas State University - Kansas State’s Office of Assessment website provides helpful general information about outcomes assessment, university-level student learning outcomes, examples of assessment tools, and many assessment-related resources. provides guidelines for effective departmental assessment plans and useful tools and rubrics. links to examples of department plans organized by college.

Michigan State University

Link to site - This link leads to MSU’s “Progress Report on Assessment 2005,” detailing assessment processes related to the university’s HLC accreditation efforts.

Northern Arizona University - Another rich site, encompassing general information and resources about assessment as well as department assessment plans (outcomes, measures and evidence, implementation components) as well as many annual reports of departmental assessments (all in pdf format) by college (Arts and Letters, Business, Education, Engineering and Natural Sciences, Social and Behavioral Sciences, and Interdisciplinary Programs).

Ohio University - This site is a list of departmental assessment plans for academic years 1999-2000 through 2001-2002.

University of Arizona - Outcomes assessment of academic programs at the University of Arizona is organized within the colleges; this site provide links to specific outcomes and “regular and recurring” assessment activities by departments.

University of Colorado at Boulder - This site is a thorough overview of CU’s assessment efforts and processes over the past several years, including detailed information about departmental assessments.

Outcomes for each major are stated in each department’s section of the on-line catalog: describes methods used to assess outcomes by CU departments.

University of Illinois - Departmental plans for student outcomes assessment (in most cases, both undergraduate and graduate majors) are listed by college and describe the processes used to develop the plan, desired learning outcomes, assessment methods and measures, means to use assessment results, and timelines for implementing the plans.

University of Nevada-Reno - The Office of University Assessment website offers useful information on UNR assessment efforts and resources, including the University’s assessment plan and a step-by-step guide for developing a departmental assessment plan. - The Program Plans webpage provides links to departmental assessment plans and reports by college; plans include the unit’s mission, desired student learning outcomes and performance indicators, assessment methods, implementation plans, and intended use of results.


Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts at Wabash College - The Center’s Assessment Toolkit includes reviews of quantitative and qualitative methods for assessing outcomes of liberal education.

University of Massachusetts Amherst - Included in these tools from the UMass Office of Academic Planning and Assessment is a handbook for program-based assessment that provides clear guidelines and suggestions for developing and implementing assessment plans.

University of Wisconsin – Madison - Included in this manual are overviews of assessment at UW-Madison (e.g., the university’s “assessment approach” and its assessment plan), step-by-step advice on developing departmental assessment plans, and examples of assessment methods and instruments, including direct (e.g., course-embedded assessment, standardized tests) and indirect (e.g., external assessors, student interviews, surveys of graduates) measures. Part VI highlights assessment tools in use at UW-Madison “as of May 1998.”


Assessment Matrix (Central Washington University) - This is a general education assessment plan, not a departmental plan. The format, and particularly the column headings, though, might be useful for a departmental plan.

Assessment Techniques and Activities (Montana State University) - This page provides just what it says – a list of possible assessment techniques and activities to measure achievement of desired outcomes.

Resources for Assessment in Liberal Education (Association of American Colleges and Universities) - The mission of AAC&U is “to make the aims of liberal learning a vigorous and constant influence on institutional purpose and educational practice in higher education.” In addition to some “big picture” information about assessment issues and efforts on the national scene of liberal education, this site provides links to resources for assessing outcomes such as critical thinking, ethical behavior, oral communication, quantitative reasoning, and writing.

Assessment Tools and Resources (James Madison University) - Assessment instruments (e.g., standardized tests, locally-developed methods), general advice on creating and implementing assessment processes, and characteristics of effective assessment programs are highlighted.

Designing a Department Assessment Plan (Ball State University) - This site includes check lists (e.g., “What do we want to know?,” “From whom will we collect data?,” and “How will the data be used?”), a list of potential sources of assessment data, and some helpful responses to questions about assessment.

How to Write Student Learning Outcomes (Kansas State University)

Internet Assessment Resources (North Carolina State University) - This site provides links to hundreds of resources on assessment in higher education, ranging from specific institutional plans to general principles of outcomes assessment to templates for plans.


Published by the Office of the Provost. Copyright The University of Iowa 2006. All rights reserved.
Office of the Provost The University of Iowa