Program Assessment

UW-Madison offers a wide range of academic programs at various levels (including bachelor's, master's, certificate, professional, and doctoral levels) and within many different areas of specialty. Each degree program is expected to articulate and adopt student learning goals and develop assessment plans that align with these learning goals. Further, each academic program is expected to engage in at least one assessment of student learning activity each year, report findings, and develop improvement plans as needed. 

At UW-Madison, conducting ongoing and systematic evaluation of student learning is an integral component of high-quality academic and co-curricular programs. Student learning assessment considers what students are expected to learn, where in the curriculum these learning experience are provided, how it is known that students are learning, and how and when evidence of learning is used to validate or make improvements to courses or programs.

UW-Madison Basic Assessment Cycle (WWHSW)

  • What
    • What are students expected to learn? Define clear, measurable learning outcomes
  • Where
    • Where in the curriculum are students expected to learn and apply the knowledge and skills specified as learning outcomes? Ensure that students engage in sufficient learning experiences to achieve these outcomes
  • How
    • How do program faculty know (what is the evidence) that students are learning what they expect them to? Gather evidence to determine how well student learning matches expectations
  • So What
    • So what do the results mean for the program? Include an analysis and discussion of the evaluative evidence. Define any next steps. Use the results to validate or improve learning

View this guide for more details about how to navigate this process.