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University of Arizona Learning Outcomes

The University of Arizona has long recognized the importance of assessment and evaluation in improving the quality of its academic and support programs for students. Rather than viewing assessment as a reaction to demands for accountability, it is viewed as a continuous source of knowledge for institutional improvement. The University’s Office of Instruction and Assessment provides assessment resources and training across campus. 

As part of Academic Program review, departments are expected to document assessment of student learning outcomes in their degree programs, and provide annual updates to the UA assessment website. For examples of exemplary learning-outcomes assessment plans, go to http://assessment.arizona.edu/exemplary/ug. Review of assessment webpages has revealed steady improvement in assessment of student learning across campus, with a majority of departments having established strong learning outcomes and put in place activities to assess those outcomes. For an example of how one department has used learning-outcomes assessment to document student success, go to http://journalism.arizona.edu/report-card-2015.

Four student learning outcomes have been established for all of the UA’s General Education courses: think critically, communicate effectively, understand and value differences, and use information effectively. Outcomes have also been identified for the various categories of General Education courses, and are available at http://assessment.arizona.edu/general_education. A General Education Assessment Team is working on documenting assessment of these outcomes in the approximately 350 General Education courses offered across campus.

The university’s goal is to build appreciation for assessment of student learning outcomes as a productive way to understand and improve learning and teaching.  To achieve this goal, our assessment initiatives have included a series of workshops on improving student writing in general education courses, a faculty learning community on assessment of student learning outcomes, and annual workshops on learning-outcomes assessment.