The University of Virginia is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools-Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC). Along with specialized accrediting agencies, SACS-COC requires evidence that the university assesses student learning outcomes and uses the results to improve programs.
Three SACS-COC standards directly require evidence of student learning outcomes assessment, either at the program or institutional level.
Academic Program Level: "Institutional Effectiveness" standard:
Comprehensive Standard 3.3.1
The institution identifies expected outcomes, assesses the extent to which it achieves these outcomes, and provides evidence of improvement based on analysis of the results in each of the following areas:
Comprehensive Standard 188.8.131.52 educational programs, to include student learning outcomes
[Other areas omitted]
SACS-COC requires evidence (reports and documentation) that all academic and certificate programs have specified program and learning outcomes, assess student achievement of those outcomes, and apply the results in decision-making about the program and curricula. IAS archives program assessment plans, reports, and documentation.
University Level: “General Education Competency” standard:
Comprehensive Standard 3.5.1
The institution identifies college-level competencies within the general education core and provides evidence that graduates have attained those competencies.
Through its core competency assessment program, the University has defined six competencies – critical thinking, oral communication, quantitative reasoning, scientific reasoning, research, and written communication—and assessed student achievement of those competencies. Faculty oversight committees provide assurance that the competencies are at the college level. These assessments, which also serve to demonstrate compliance with SCHEV Competency Assessment requirements.
University Level: "Quality Enhancement Plan" requirement:
Core Requirement 2.12
The institution has developed an acceptable Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) that (1) includes a broad-based institutional process identifying key issues emerging from institutional assessment, (2) focuses on learning outcomes and/or the environment supporting student learning and accomplishing the mission of the institution, (3) demonstrates institutional capability for the initiation, implementation, and completion of the QEP, (4) includes broad-based involvement of institutional constituencies in the development and proposed implementation of the QEP, and (5) identifies goals and a plan to assess their achievement.
For each decennial review, the university is required to prepare a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) in which a learning outcome is selected for special focus over the next five years and a plan to support that endeavor, including additional resources and assessment, is prepared. The 2017-2022 QEP will focus on undergraduate writing.
What, How, and When to Report
IAS is responsible for maintaining an archive of reports and other materials to provide evidence of compliance with accreditation and regulatory standards and requirements regarding assessment of student learning.
What: We request brief summary reports (2-3 pages) that describe the full assessment process, from statement of learning outcome(s) through impact on curriculum or other aspect of the program. Documentation (rubric or exam used, data tables, syllabus, etc.) is essential.
In the report, please include the following:
- Program and/or learning outcomes that were assessed
- Description of methods or the assessment process
- Your expectations or targets for student performance
- Results of the assessment
- Your interpretation of results, your findings
- Changes and improvements made in light of findings, if any
- Documentation (e.g., syllabus, assignment, rubric, results table, etc.).
When: October: We would appreciate receiving assessment reports by the end of October each year unless other specific arrangements have been made with IAS.
Please send reports to Lois Myers. We will enter your report into our data archive.
Draft report? Upon request, we will provide feedback on draft reports. Contact Lois Myers for information.
IAS archives assessment plans, reports, and documentation for all academic and certificate programs in a web-based, secure data base. As the SACS-COC decennial reaffirmation review and 5th year interim review both require the university to provide coherent evidence of student learning outcomes assessments in all programs, this archive provides essential material to support our claim of compliance.
The archive contains assessment reports submitted since 2007.
To retrieve past assessment reports for your program, please contact Lois Myers.