The Assessment Plan

Assessment Cycle

Most assessment plans follow the same general steps in an iterative cycle which repeats several times before reestablishing outcomes. Here is the cycle and steps that we follow at Arkansas Tech University. 


Assessment Cycle

Steps in Assessment Cycle

  • Understanding your mission and how it aligns with or helps to fulfill the university mission is an important first step in the assessment process. 
  • Review every 4-5 years during your scheduled program review cycle. 
  • Outcomes should align with or help to fulfill the department/program and university missions and strategic plans.
  • What do you want to achieve?
  • In the case of student learning, what do you want students to know or be able to do?  
  • Be sure to write measurable goals!
  • Review every 4-5 years during your scheduled review cycle. 

For help with writing outcomes, visit our tutorial, "Writing Effective Outcomes". 

  • What lesson, activity, or program will you use to achieve your outcomes?
  • How will you know that you achieved those outcomes?
  • In the case of student learning, how will you know that students learned what you expected them to?  
  • Provide the lesson, course, program, or service that is meant to achieve the outcome. 
  • Measure the outcome. This data is your evidence, so be sure to put it in a form that can be analyzed.  
  • Did you meet your outcomes? 
  • Discuss your findings. What could have gone better? What should be changed for the next go-round?
  • Make and implement evidence-based decisions to improve.
  • Document this process, the outcomes and evidence, and action plan for improvement.
  • At ATU, we use an online program called Weave to document this process. 

For help with Weave, visit our Assessment Tools page.






Assessment Basics

  1. What is Assessment? 
  2. The Assessment Plan
  3. Assessment Misconceptions
  4. Review and Go! 

Assessment Academy