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.


Resources for creating an assessment and requesting approval.

Access tools


Tool for designated Student Affairs staff to submit semester data.

Report data


Ways that Student Affairs cultivates a Wisconsin Experience for students.

View results

Guiding principles

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

Iterative cycle

Figure 1: Student Assessment Life Cycle

Figure 1: Description

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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?
  4. 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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Survey review and approval

Student Affairs requires its units to submit student, faculty/staff, and alumni surveys that meet certain criteria for review and approval prior to distribution. Learn more about the approval criteria, deadlines, and how to submit a request.

Guidelines and templates

UW–Madison assessment resources

Professional associations

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

Getting Started

To request an account to access Baseline, please fill out the Baseline Access Request FormPlease 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

Consultation and Technical Support

Contact Campus Labs Assessment Consultants at (716) 270-0000 or For articles, webinars, and other resources on how to utilize Baseline, visit the Baseline Support and Help Center.

Assessment reporting

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.

Report semester data

Assessment Committee

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.

View the Assessment Committee charter