Building KU's Teaching and Learning Community

Assessment Resources

A Resource Guide for Departments and Programs

Faculty members in many KU departments and programs are asking, “What do we want students to learn in our courses?” and “How can we tell if our majors are prepared to succeed in our field?” This guide was developed with the help of departments who participated in a pilot program that addressed those questions, and the guide outlines steps the departments found useful. The process described here captures students’ progress in an entire program, not an evaluation of an individual course or an individual instructor. By completing this process, departments can identify areas where they are achieving learning goals and discover areas that would benefit from development.

Before a department begins this program, the chair and other department leaders need to be committed to the process. Leadership buy-in would be demonstrated by periodic inclusion of this project on faculty meeting agendas and in the service structure of the department. When chairs set a reasonable timeline for the activities, with target dates, the process is most likely to continue.

This process is continuous and iterative. Frequently observing and discussing the quality of students’ work is part of a successful instructional program. The key to sustaining the process is gathering a small but random and representative sample of work all the time, but asking only central questions on a subset of goals in a subset of years. Over time the pattern of evidence of learning will make sense, so it is better to be selective and steady than to do too much in a given year.

Within the guide, the process is sketched in optimal order of occurrence, but departments are encouraged to modify the steps based on their needs and purposes. Please click on one of the following links (both are pdfs), depending on your department's needs:

Documenting and Advancing Undergraduate Learning

Documenting and Advancing Graduate Learning

Other Resources

View handouts (pdf) from Barbara Walvoord workshop, October 2013

For assistance with any part of the process, contact CTE at 864-4199 or

CTE turns 25

The Center for Teaching Excellence is celebrating its 25th birthday this academic year. Watch for special events and workshops.