The Assessment Plan

Types of Assessment

Assessment plans can generally be categorized into two broad categories: process-oriented and results-oriented. Here are some examples of each. 



  • Measures types of services/programs students want/need
  • Who are we serving? What do they need/like? 
  • Measures who is using services, what services are being used, & when services are being used
  • Scope - what is the reach of our program or service?
  • Measures to what extent students are satisfied with programs/services
  • Do students like what we have to offer?


  • Measures to what extent stated outcomes (what students know or are able to do) are met
  • What do we want to accomplish? Did we do it? 
What standards have been set by professional associations? Do we meet them?
  • Benchmarking, Best Practices, etc.
  • Evidence that resources are well spent

Assessment Cycle

Most assessment plans follow the same general steps in an iterative cycle: identify desired outcomes that are in-line with the program and university missions, provide a program/activity to achieve the desired outcomes, take measurements to determine if the outcomes were achieved, analyze the data collected, determine actions to take to improve to better achieve the desired outcomes, provide the program/activity again...and so on. The cycle repeats several times before reestablishing outcomes. Here is the cycle that we use 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. 
  • Student learning outcomes should align with or help to fulfill the department/program and university missions. 
  • What do you want students to know or be able to do?  
  • What do you want to achieve?
  • Be sure to write measurable goals!
  • Review every 4-5 years during your scheduled program review cycle. 
  • What lesson, activity, or program will you use to achieve learning outcomes?
  • How will you know that you achieved those outcomes?
  • In other words, 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 learning outcome. 
  • Measure the outcome. This data is your evidence of learning, so be sure to put it in a form that can be analyzed.  
  • Did you meet your learning 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 impromement. At ATU, we use Weave to document this process.