Tennessee Teaching and Learning Center (TennTLC)

Programmatic Assessment

(Resources specific to graduate programs are available  here.)
Learning outcome assessment focuses on student learning and brings together two main questions:

What do you want students to be able to know, do, and value when they leave your program?

How do you know your students are learning?  

The assessment cycle graphicProgram assessment has several essential characteristics:

– It focuses on student learning;

– It leads to program enhancement;

– It involves program faculty;

– It is on-going.


Student learning outcomes are either specific to the course or to the program. At the course level, instructors usually give tests, projects, and other assignments (summative assessment) that allow them to evaluate aspects of student learning, and make adjustments to their courses. At the program level, the faculty assess evidence of student learning in the program, and use the results to make adjustments to the curriculum and to enhance the program.

The assessment cycle model provides a framework programs can use to consider, in a systematic manner,  how they know their students are learning. This framework focuses on five areas of inquiry: (click on each one below for resources)

  1. LEARNING OUTCOMES: What will your graduates learn and achieve?
  2. CURRICULUM: Where in the curriculum will they learn and achieve what you want them to do?
  3. ASSESSMENT: How and when will students show their learning and achievements? What assessment do you use?
  4. ANALYSIS OF RESULTS: What is your analysis and your conclusion about the results of evaluations?
  5. PROGRAM ENHANCEMENTHow will you use these results to make changes in the curriculum to enhance your program?
For a rubric for programmatic assessment plans and a template document, visit the Provost’s page: sacs.utk.edu.
Additional resources are available on UTK’s Office of Institutional Research and Assessment’s website.
The University of Maryland shares its information on Undergraduate outcomes here.





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