Ongoing assessment helps Student Affairs understand student needs and experiences; the effectiveness of our programs and services; and their contribution to student growth and development. Assessments also identify opportunities for improvement.
To ensure that assessment is an effective driver and guide for improving our practices, we adopt the following guiding principles for carrying out assessment:
- Connect assessment with program, departmental, divisional, and institutional missions, goals, and identified outcomes
- Involve and engage stakeholders at all levels across the educational community
- Conduct high-quality and rigorous assessment
- Commit to continuous and easy-access professional development opportunities, resources, and support
- Close the assessment loop by utilizing assessment results to inform decision making
- Share assessment results with various stakeholders considering their needs
Figure 1: Description
- Define or revise department goals
Align department goals with the Student Affairs mission and vision, as well as with the Wisconsin Experience. Assessment, as a goal-oriented process, compares student progress and performance with educational purposes and expectations. Clear and explicitly stated goals are the cornerstones for assessment.
- Develop and map learning outcomes
At the program level, define or redefine learning outcomes in alignment with the Student Affairs mission, vision, and goals, as well as with the departmental goals and Wisconsin Experience.
- Plan and implement assessment
Articulate performance indicators that are quantifiable measures for each expected outcome. Then determine the most appropriate methods for collecting data, which encompasses the following components:
- Why (purposes) – Why are we doing the assessment?
- What (types of data to be collected) – What information is to be gathered?
- How (data collection method) – How will the data be collected?
- Who (population & sampling techniques) – Who are you collecting the data from?
- When (timeline) – When will the data be collected?
- Analyze and use findings
Analyze the data and interpret the results in the context of the assessment purpose(s) and goal(s). To provide a base for action, assessment results need to be shared with various stakeholders in ways that they can understand and use. In order to close the assessment loop, results should drive intentional change, such as modification and improvement of programs or services and future assessment processes.
After analysis, use the findings to begin the cycle again with revision of department goals as needed.
Assessment tools and resources
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Guidelines and templates
UW–Madison assessment resources
- American College Personnel Association (ACPA) Commission for Assessment and Evaluation
- American Council on Education (ACE)
- Association for Institutional Research (AIR)
- Association for the Assessment of Learning in Higher Education (AALHE)
- Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U)·
- Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education
- NASPA Assessment, Evaluation, and Research Knowledge Community
- National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA)
- Student Affairs Assessment Leaders
- Assessment Commons
Baseline assessment platform
Baseline is used as the assessment platform to coordinate assessment efforts within Student Affairs. Functionalities of the platform include:
- Collect assessment data using online surveys and audience feedback tools
- Gather direct measures of student learning, success, and achievement with rubrics
- Provide a centralized, accessible location for new assessment activities and data, or upload data from historical datasets, paper assessments, or past national studies
- Create dashboards that demonstrate change over time
- Benchmark with peer institutions and participate in national studies
To request an account to access Baseline, please fill out the Baseline Access Request Form. Please allow up to a week to process your request. You will receive a confirmation email once the request is completed. Log in to the system with your UW–Madison credentials at wisc.campuslabs.com.
Consultation and Technical Support
Contact Campus Labs Assessment Consultants at (716) 270-0000 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For articles, webinars, and other resources on how to utilize Baseline, visit the Baseline Support and Help Center.
Student Affairs departments are required to report specific assessment data within three weeks after the last day of classes each semester. Staff who need Box access to report semester data should contact their department director or an Assessment Committee representative. Contact Ning Sun, Director of Student Affairs Assessment, with any questions or concerns about data reporting.
The Student Affairs Assessment Committee guides and supports assessment activities across Student Affairs. Serving as the champions for assessment, the Assessment Committee consists of Student Affairs professionals representing each Student Affairs area.