What is Assessment?

Assessment is an on-going process aimed at understanding and improving student learning. It involves making our expectations explicit and public; setting appropriate criteria and high standards for learning quality; systematically gathering, analyzing, and interpreting evidence to determine how well performance matches those expectations and standards; and using the resulting information to document, explain, and improve performance. When it is embedded effectively within larger institutional systems, assessment can help us focus our collective attention, examine our assumptions, and create a shared academic culture dedicated to assuring and improving the quality of higher education.
(Definition by The American Association for Higher Education (AAHE) Bulletin, 48 (2), November 1995, pp. 7-9.)

All courses and programs are assessed on a regular basis through the following processes:

UAF uses a software program called Explorance Blue, or Blue, to conduct course evaluations. Each instructor has the opportunity to personalize questions to their course and students are asked to complete the surveys at the end of each semester.

As part of the four-year program review cycle each program is required to submit/update their Student Learning Outcome Assessments (SLOA).  These SLOA plans are created and maintained by each department to measure student success and explore areas for improvement. Click here to see the current SLOA’s on file.

A committee, appointed by the faculty senate, prepares and summarizes a report on the following general education objectives and learning outcomes for undergraduate students seeking baccalaureate degrees at UAF.

  • Build knowledge of human institutions, sociocultural processes, and the physical and natural world through the study of the natural and social sciences, technologies, mathematics, humanities, histories, languages and the arts.
  • Develop intellectual and practical skills across the curriculum, including inquiry and analysis, critical and creative thinking, problem solving, written and oral communication, information literacy, technological competence, and collaborative learning.
  • Acquire tools for effective civic engagement in local through global contexts, including ethical reasoning, intercultural competence, and knowledge of Alaska and Alaska issues.
  • Integrate and apply learning, including synthesis and advanced accomplishment across general and specialized studies, adapting them to new settings, questions and responsibilities, and forming a foundation for lifelong learning.

UAF participates in a 7-year cycle of self-assessment and peer review as part of the accreditation process. The information gained through accreditation helps the university make strategic decisions about how higher education is delivered to students.