The University of Virginia is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools-Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Along with specialized accrediting agencies, SACSCOC requires evidence that the university assesses student learning outcomes and uses the results to improve programs.
Two SACSCOC overarching standards directly require evidence of student learning outcomes assessment, either at the program or institutional level.
Section 7: "Institutional Effectiveness" standard:
The institution has a Quality Enhancement Plan that (a) has a topic identified through its ongoing, comprehensive planning and evaluation processes; (b) has broad-based support of institutional constituencies;
(c) focuses on improving specific student learning outcomes and/or student success; (d) commits resources to initiate, implement, and complete the QEP; and (e) includes a plan to assess achievement. (Quality Enhancement Plan)
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 focuses on undergraduate writing.
Section 8: “Student Achievement” standard:
8.2 (a) & (b):
The institution identifies expected outcomes, assesses the extent to which it achieves these outcomes, and provides evidence of seeking improvement based on analysis of the results in the areas below:
- Student learning outcomes for each of its educational programs. (Student outcomes: educational programs)
- Student learning outcomes for collegiate-level general education competencies of its undergraduate degree programs. (Student outcomes: general education)
SACSCOC 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. IRA archives program assessment plans, reports, and documentation.
What, How, and When to Report
IRA 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 IRA.
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.
IRA archives assessment plans, reports, and documentation for all academic and certificate programs in a web-based, secure data base. As the SACSCOC 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.