Assessment Plans graphic


UW-La Crosse has plans for gathering evidence of student learning that include university-wide efforts as well as those in place for the general education program and each academic program offered by the university.  Information about these efforts is described below across the seperate tabs.  Brief descriptions of the data collection methods, process, and timeframe for the process are shared. 

Faculty play the key role in assessment of each program and decide the learning outcomes to be assessed, the direct or indirect methods to collect data, and review the results in order to refine or sustain current curriculum. Faculty are also involved in the coordination and review of these efforts via the General Education Committee, General Education Assessment Committee, University Program Assessment Committee, and the Academic Program Review Commiittee.   

University Wide Assessment

University-Wide Assessment

The university collects assessment information at the campus-level in order to: 

  • Understand our students' campus experience
  • Measure our students' levels of engagement in meaningful learning activities
  • Study our students' ability to demonstrate specific college-level skills  

UW-La Crosse has made regular use of two nationally recognized tools, the National Survey of Student Engagement and the Collegiate Learning Assessment, in our efforts to understand and improve student learning. The results of these measures are utilized by faculty and staff to make decisions about how we can help students learn more effectively, what programming to offer, and the best structure for the general education curriculum.

National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE)

The  National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE)  assesses college students' involvement in curricular activities that are associated with academic achievement as well as their perceptions of the campus environment.  UWL is able to compare our results with three groups including our UW Peer Comprehensive Institutions, our IPEDs Aspirant Group of similar schools across the nation, and the overall NSSE national sample of schools from the past two years.  The university participates on a three year cycle, most recently in Spring 2020 with our next administration planned for Spring 2023. 

Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA+)

The Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) analyzes students' written responses to a set of tasks that include analyzing complex materials to produce a response to a work like issue (Performance Task) or alternatively to a set of written arguments in which the student must both produce a logical argument related to prompt and then critique an argument presented to them to indicate its flaws.  Students' abilities to think critically, reason analytically, solve problems, and communicate clearly and cogently are assessed by these tasks.  UWL most recently participated in the CLA+ in the fall semester of 2019. 

For additional information concerning CLA+ or NSSE assessment at UWL or to suggest revisions to this page, contact University Assessment Coordinator Dr. Patrick Barlow.

General Education Assessment

 The assessment of student learning across the general education program is conducted at the course and university level.  Several data sources are used to present the overall pattern of achievement of the program's student learning outcomes.  The General Education Assessment Committee (GEAC) reviews and manages the course level assessment process providing summary reports each year.  The General Education Committee (GEC) is responsible for the overall course structure and review of student learning within the program.  The GEC members review the GEAC reports and other assessment information on a regular basis. 

Course Embedded Process

Beginning in the Fall semester 2021, a pilot program will involve a subset of general education course faculty who will make use of the VALUE rubric for critical thinking to assess student learning.  Two cohorts of courses will be taking part. The course faculty will determine an appropriate assignment or student learning task to which they will apply the VALUE rubric.  The GEAC will assist the process in providing training on the VALUE rubrics and reviewing the proposed tasks.  Data collection for the first cohort will begin in Spring semester 2022 with the second cohort following in Fall semester 2022. It is planned that a summary of the pilot will be reported back through the GEAC to GEC will additional recommendations on how to scale up the process more fully in subsequent semesters.    

University Level Process

Relevant items from the National Survey of Student Engagement reported to the General Education Committee. (See the University Wide Assessment Tab for more information on this tool). NSSE results are added to the direct information from the course level process to portray the nature of student achievement of the outcomes. The NSSE is administered on a cyclical basis approximately every three years. Reports are prepared by the Assessment Coordinator that combine the University Level data with Course embedded data for review by the General Education Committee.

More information about the General Education assessment process is available on the Faculty Senate Website.  

If you have questions on any of the content on this page or suggestions for revisions, please contact, Dr. Patrick Barlow, Assessment Coordinator.

Program Assessment

All academic departments and programs conduct program assessment to better understand how student learning is taking place within each program and how it might be improved or sustained. Assessment of student learning is also an expectation for the Academic Program Review process and many external accreditors of our degree programs. The effort is a shared task among the faculty members in the department or program.  The collection, analysis, and use of the results by departments and programs is reported on and reviewed via multiple interwoven processes.

  1. The university requires program assessment to be conducted. 
  2. Programs/Departments report their assessment efforts regularly.
  3. The University Program Assessment Committee reviews these submissions and provides feedback on them. 
  4. Departments/programs are reviewed by an external consultant (every seven years) or accreditation body (dependent on the organization's cycle) in conjunction with a university-level review.
  5. The Undergraduate and Graduate Academic Program Review Committees reviews program assessment practices on a 7 year cycle along with multiple other facets of program operations. 

Academic programs will report on their assessment activities in coordination with their Academic Program Review cycles such that at 5 years and 2 years ahead of their APR reviewing have been split into two cohorts for reporting purposes.  More information about the process can be accessed on the UPAC webpage to provide operation details of the process. 

This graphic represents the intended cycle of program assessment reporting and review. 

5 Years Pre-APR Review

5 Years before APR/GAPR Review Year

  • Programs receives reminder notices, September & December
  • Program/Dept submits Report by Feb 15 via Canvas
  • UPAC reviews and provides feedback
  • Program/Dept incorporates feedback into assessment work


2 Years Pre-APR Review

2 Years before APR/GAPR Review Year

  • Programs receives reminder notices, September & December
  • Program/Dept submits Report by Feb 15 via Canvas
  • UPAC reviews and provides feedback
  • Program/Dept incorporates feedback into assessment work
APR Review Year Activities

Year of APR/GAPR Review

  • Program will include assessment reports and UPAC feedback in their documentation for Academic Program Review



If you have questions on any of the content on this page or suggestions for revisions, please contact, Dr. Patrick Barlow, Assessment Coordinator.  

Course Level Assessment 

Individual faculty members are also active in the assessment of learning outcomes specific to their individual courses. This process may or may not feed directly into the process used for the major or program as instructors may often designate learning outcomes in their courses that reside as separate from either general education or program specific outcomes. Faculty may also desire to assess newly designed courses or use of new teaching strategies through this level of assessment. 

Faculty who are being reviewed for promotion are expected to report on the direct assessment of student learning outcomes as indicated in the JPC guidelines. The candidate should show how the results from an assessment informed a change in teaching and re-assessment of student learning. Examples of evidence appendices regarding direct assessment are available off the Provost’s promotion resource page.

For more information concerning course assessment, contact University Assessment Coordinator Dr. Patrick Barlow .