Program Assessment

The purpose of student outcomes assessment at Iowa State University is to continually improve student learning. Information is gathered at the course, department, college, or university level to ascertain students' knowledge, understanding, and ability to use their knowledge at the end of their academic programs. Assessment results are used for program improvement.              

University Level

Iowa State uses results of various survey instruments (such as the National Survey of Student Engagement (PDF) and a common university graduating student survey) and analysis of college and program level reporting to monitor student outcomes assessment at the university level.

College Level 

The Faculty Handbook (Section 10.7.2) specifies that each college is responsible for developing plans to assess college and university student learning outcomes within their college.

Program/Department Level

The Board of Regents, State of Iowa, and the Faculty Handbook (Section 10.7.2) require that all programs have in place student outcomes assessment plans. These plans should assess whether students achieve the learning outcomes specified by the program. Degree and certificate learning outcomes should describe in observable and measurable terms the skills, knowledge, and competencies that program graduates  program should be able to demonstrate after completing their course of study. To document these efforts, program self-study reports ought to contain program learning outcomes as well as an overview of program level assessment efforts completed since the last mid- or full-cycle review. The Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost annually collects information on all undergraduate student outcomes assessment plans from departments and program leaders and  compiles an annual dashboard report to the Board of Regents.

Course Level

Assessment of student outcomes at the course-level occurs in three primary ways:

  • Most courses use Class Climate to conduct end of semester course-evaluations from students. Many of these surveys include questions about student perception of achievement of outcomes and student learning gains.
  • As of Fall 2015, all undergraduate courses enrolling 100 students or more on an annual basis must have in place a continuous improvement plan that focuses on student outcomes.
  • Individual faculty members assess student achievement of outcomes as a part of the normal educational process.






Shawn Marie Boyne
Director of Academic Quality and Undergraduate Education,