Assessment Guidelines


Assessment findings take many forms. Some view assessment as a research project, using descriptive statistics to analyze data, report conclusions, and make recommendations. Still others produce a narrative describing their assessment process, findings, and what they plan to do. The university uses BOX as a repository to collect and store assessment reports. Access to BOX can be provided by Ethan Brown, Applications Administrator for the Office of Academic Planning and Assessment.

For your convenience, we have designed Annual Program Assessment Template and GPAC (general education) assessment templates that provide the framework for and components needed to complete the assessment. If you want to provide more detail than the template allows, add a narrative at the bottom of the template table.


All active degree-granting programs are expected to assess at least one component of their programs’ learning outcomes annually. These assessments feed into the academic program reviews, typically completed every five to seven years or, if relevant, are included in the systematic evaluations of the curriculum that is a part of your professional accreditation self-study. Completed annual program assessments should be sent to [email protected].

For your convenience you can use the assessment template or submit a word document that addresses the five components of assessment.

The assessment should include the following information:

  • The student learning outcomes you are assessing. Programs should have at least 3-5 outcomes that are assessed over a five-year period. 
  • The assessment plan includes the assignments, projects, exam questions, or performances used to assess student learning, including the courses in which the assessments will be completed. It should include a detailed description about the tool(s) that are used to assess student learning and information about how these measures relate to the learning outcome.
  • A detailed summary of the assessment findings includes the number of students assessed, their scores, and a copy of the rubric, which may include questions and answer keys used.
  • Analysis and interpretation of the assessment findings comprises what the data tells you about what and how well students are achieving the learning outcome(s). It should include information about in which areas students are excelling or having difficulty.
  • An action plan describes what, if any, changes in the curriculum or in specific courses you will make to improve student learning, based on the assessment.

Overview of Program Assessment by Professor Irene Foster, Department of Economics


Click on the video below for a brief overview:​


Program Assessment Review Video

Course assessment follows the same outline as program assessment. The learning objectives or outcomes for general education courses have been pre-determined by Columbian College. Thus, general education assessment reports must include information about how well students are meeting the relevant general education objective. GPAC assessment templates that can be used for reporting the assessments are available for each learning outcome. 

It is important to remember that assessment is an iterative process, intended to provide useful feedback about what and how well students are learning.


The University General Education Requirement engages students in active intellectual inquiry across the liberal arts. The requirement includes 19 credits of approved courses in written and oral communication, critical analysis in the humanities, critical analysis in the social sciences, quantitative reasoning, and scientific reasoning, including lab. These courses have been vetted by Columbian College faculty to ensure that they address the general education learning outcomes required for all undergraduates. In addition, each undergraduate school or college has school-specific general education requirements (e.g., G-PAC in CCAS) that are designed to meet university goals, and when appropriate, standards set by professional accrediting agencies.

- Faculty are expected to assess all general education learning outcomes within a five-year period. Multiple sections of a general education course may be assessed individually or collectively as one unit.

- Program chairs must include a summary of these assessment findings in their annual report to the Dean.

- A summary of these assessment findings must also be included in the department’s Academic Program Review, which is completed every five-to-seven -years.


For forms and documents click here.


Individual courses and curricula should be developed within the context of the program’s goals and reflect a coherent plan of study. Curriculum mapping is a strategy that helps to identify which courses are responsible for particular program outcomes and to make certain that the curriculum offers a rational sequence of courses. The curriculum should be organized such that knowledge and skills for each program goal are first introduced, further developed, and satisfactorily achieved.

Curriculum maps are required when new programs are proposed and when major changes are made to a program curriculum. They are expected to be reviewed as part of the academic program review self-study.

Questions to consider:

  • To what extent are key program goals introduced, developed and achieved appropriately from course to course?
  • How well do course objectives track with program objectives?
  • Are there opportunities for students to organize, synthesize, and integrate what they are learning across courses?
  • Are courses suitably preparing students for graduate school or a chosen career?


Curriculum Mapping and What is a Great Curriculum? Linda Suskie

Create a curriculum map:

Create a curriculum map using our template:

  1. Download the Curriculum Mapping Worksheet.
  2. Add the program's goals, outcomes, or objectives to the row across the top.
  3. In the row on the left, list all the required courses and any electives that students are encouraged to take; include any courses taken outside your department if these are central to the program’s requirement.
  4. Once the rows and columns are created, think about how each course contributes to the learning outcome: is the outcome first introduced (I), developed (D) or satisfactorily achieved (A) in the course. Add I, D, or A in the appropriate box indicating if the goal is introduced, practiced, or reinforced.
  5. Once the curriculum is “mapped” review it to make sure it reflects a coherent plan of study. If not, think about what revisions or changes should be made to the curriculum.


Annual Program Assessment Template for reporting your program assessment

Annual GPAC Course Assessment Templates for reporting your GPAC assessment

Association of American Colleges and University (AAC&U) AAC&U VALUE Rubrics: These were developed by teams of faculty experts representing colleges and universities across the United States through a process that examined many existing campus rubrics and related documents for each learning outcome and incorporated additional feedback from faculty. The rubrics articulate fundamental criteria for each learning outcome, with performance descriptors demonstrating progressively more sophisticated levels of attainment. The rubrics are intended for institutional-level use in evaluating and discussing student learning, not for grading. 

GPAC Course Assessment Feedback Rubric contains the criteria that is used to evaluate course assessment reports. It can provide guidance about the key pieces required by GW. 

Annual Program Assessment Feedback Rubric contains the criteria that is used to evaluate annual program assessment reports. It can provide guidance about the key pieces required by GW. 



Completed annual program assessments should be sent to [email protected]. Due dates for reports in some of the schools is below.

Columbian College: due end of July

School of Medicine and Health Sciences: July 15

Elliott School of International Affairs: June 1