Assessment at UNCW

Assessment Planning and Reporting

Part 1: Outcomes

Each program should have two types of outcomes: Student Learning Outcomes and Program Outcomes.


The assessment plan should list 2 - 7 student learning outcomes (SLOs) that all program graduates are expected to meet. List all outcomes that have been adopted, even those not currently being assessed. These SLOs should be agreed upon by all faculty as the essential understandings that all graduates should bring into their profession or discipline. In most programs, students need to demonstrate both knowledge and abilities or skills (and possibly dispositions, although these are difficult to assess). The SLOs should be phrased actively (students will demonstrate an understanding of, demonstrate the ability to, create, write, perform, use, apply, etc.) and should be precise enough to be measured.

See UNCW Learning Goals (especially definitions at the end) for aligning program SLOs to university-wide learning goals.

Example Student Learning Outcomes from UNCW College of Arts and Sciences:

Anthropology: Students will demonstrate an understanding of the origins of cultural and biological diversity through time.

Communication Studies: Students will demonstrate the capacity to construct and deliver an effective oral argument or performance of text.

English: Students will demonstrate the ability to integrate research to support an argument.

Film Studies: Students will demonstrate a broad knowledge of film styles, genres, and various national cinemas.

Film Studies: Students will demonstrate the ability to communicate story, mood, character, and ideas cinematically.

History: Students will develop an interpretation based on evidence.

Music: Students will form and defend value judgments about music.

Philosophy: Students will formulate a thesis on a philosophy topic.

Theatre: Students will present a sense of characterization that gives evidence of research, analysis, and interpretation of text.


Program Outcomes are often referred to as program goals or program objectives. They are outcomes separate from student learning outcomes that are driven from the particular needs of each program. Program outcomes change as the needs of the program change, and should be limited in number to an amount that can be effectively evaluated, usually 3 - 5.

Example Program Outcomes from UNCW College of Arts and Sciences

Art History: Place graduates in an increasing variety of employment or higher education categories

Chemistry: Increase student involvement in research

Communications Studies: Clarify connections between courses and cumulative nature of the degree and curriculum

Computer Science: Prepare students for careers in the emerging knowledge-based economy

English: Widen use of instructional technology in computer-equipped and other smart classrooms

Environmental Studies: Provide students with opportunities for practical, individualized work experience in the field

Film Studies: Promote the timely graduation of our students

French: Increase student participation in study abroad programs as a means of mastering French language

Geography: Increase the visibility of the Geography program to increase number of majors

History: Provide support and resources that encourage faculty to teach independent studies, particularly those involving undergraduate research

Music: Recruit and retain the highest quality undergraduate student

Philosophy and Religion: Recruit and retain quality instructors, fostering excellence in faculty teaching, research and service.

Physics: Enhance experiential learning by increasing internship opportunities and improving the pedagogy in undergraduate laboratories

Public and International Affairs MPA: Maintain minority student composition that exceeds the general UNCW student population

Sociology: Provide service to the community

Many program outcomes can be the same across programs in a department. In such cases, documentation should be clear which programs share each outcome.

Part 2: Assessment Plan

Part 3: Assessment Findings

Part 4: Actions for Improvement

Part 5: Status Report

Return to Assessment Planning and Reporting