Potential Models for Assessing Student Learning

The following are examples of how academic units at UNL are assessing student learning outcomes and educational experiences. These examples come from reports submitted by units about their outcomes assessment activities. What is being assessed, how it is being assessed, and why it is a good model is identified for each example. For additional information, the department and contact name are also given.

The examples provided are not comprehensive but instead are some of the best representations of how student learning is assessed by many academic units at UNL. If you know of examples that would enhance the variety shared here please notify Jessica Jonson, Director of Institutional Assessment.

These links will take you to a specific college below. From there you may click on the unit name to access the report.

College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

Contact: Ron Hanson
Outcome(s) Assessed
Methods Used
• Learning outcomes for majors • Graduating senior survey
• In-house knowledge exam
• Alumni survey
• Learning outcomes for major are clearly stated and incorporated into senior survey
• Senior survey assesses student perceptions of learning gains as well as satisfaction with educational experience
• Improved assessment methods that were found to be ineffective
• Use assessment evidence from student perceptions and student work to assess outcomes
• Used assessment evidence in departmental academic program review
• Detailed documentation of how assessment results were used to improve curriculum
• Created opportunities for faculty to formally discuss curriculum and advising issues

Veterinary & Biomedical Sciences

Contact: Rodney Moxley
Outcome(s) Assessed
Methods Used
• Program learning outcomes • Alumni survey
• GRE scores
• Veterinary school GPA
• Thoughtfully developed assessment of departmental alumni who attend veterinary school
• For comparison purposes, included veterinary students who did not major in the department
• Build on results by surveying alumni that did not attend veterinary school
• Included curriculum committee in review of assessment results
• Documents improvements to undergraduate advising based on survey results

College of Arts & Sciences

College Advising

Contact: Peter Bleed
Outcome(s) Assessed
Methods Used
• Advising • Surveys
• Focus Groups
• Adaptation of assessment schedule to meet needs of individual academic units
• Assessment of a college level issue
• Questions of interest clearly stated
• Survey carefully developed to measure questions of interest
• Use of multiple constituents: faculty, staff, and students
• Thorough description of how assessment was conducted
• Detailed summary of results
• Potential improvements are suggested/considered


Contact: Mark Griep
Outcome(s) Assessed
Methods Used
• Learning in chemistry subfields
• Change in number of majors
• Standardized exam
• Course grades
• APR data
• Assessment guided by issues of interest
• Assessment results and faculty input on those results prompted additional analysis or gathering of assessment evidence
• Extensive and innovative use of tables and graphs to analyze and display results
• Innovative use of existing data
• Innovative analysis of standardized test results

Political Science

Contact: John Gruhl
Outcome(s) Assessed
Methods Used
• Program learning outcomes • Alumni Survey
• Evaluation of Capstone Research Papers
• Alternative approach for administering an alumni survey
• Sample available research papers to improve efficiency of the assessment process
• Thoughtful and rigorous process for evaluating student research papers
• Detailed but concise summary of activities and discussion of results
• Results prompted plans to collect additional evidence
• Statement of how results were shared with department
• Provides conclusions from departmental discussion of results


Contact: Daniel Leger
Outcome(s) Assessed
Methods Used
• Writing • Instructor survey
• Student Papers
• Innovative criteria used to assess course writing assignments
• Innovative criteria used to rate student writing performance
• Identification of where assessment process could be improved
• Thorough summary of results identifying strengths and areas for improvement
• Clear indication of how results were shared and discussed with faculty in the department
• Provides conclusions from departmental discussion of assessment results
• Details a 3-year plan for assessing three key learning outcomes for undergraduate major
• Report indicates a continuous cycle of assessment that builds upon the results each year

College of Education and Human Sciences

Nutrition and Health Sciences

Contact: Linda Young
Outcome(s) Assessed
Methods Used
• Program goals and associated learning outcomes
(listed in report)
• Course evaluations
• Teaching Circle
• Senior Survey
• Graduate Survey
• Intern Supervisor Interviews
• Internship acceptance rates
• Certification Exam
• Graduate placement
• Student Retention
• Provides a formal plan for assessment
• Plan clearly links program goals and outcomes
• Plan outlines for each outcome what evidence is collected, who it is collected from, how it is collected, when it is collected, and how evidence is used
• State criteria for assessing the achievement of outcomes
• Use evidence from student perceptions and student work to assess outcomes
• Wide spread faculty involvement in process through teaching circles and insuring coverage of outcomes in their courses.
• Implementation of curriculum changes to improve learning outcomes and program goals
• Collection of additional evidence when results did not meet set criteria

Textiles, Clothing and Design

Contact: Carol Thayer
Outcome(s) Assessed
Methods Used
• Program learning outcomes
(listed in report)
• Senior Interview
• Graduate Survey
• Employer Survey
• Portfolios
• Student Exhibitions
• Clearly state program learning outcomes
• Use evidence from student perceptions and student work to assess outcomes
• Provides a detailed reflection and response to assessment results.
• Implemented program improvements based on assessment results.
• Discussion indicates a continuous cycle of improvement

Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts

School of Music

Contact: Glenn Nierman
Outcome(s) Assessed
Methods Used
• Learning outcomes for each program
(listed in report)
• Field experience evaluations
• Standardized tests
• Capstone projects
• Proficiency exams
• Clearly document learning outcomes and assessment methods
• Discuss assessment for undergraduate and graduate programs
• Identify specific ways to improve efficiency of assessment process
• Discuss and reflect on assessment results
• Assessment is continuous cycle of following up on program improvement to insure they have had the intended effect on learning
• Reviewed and modified curriculum to insure students can achieve learning outcomes
• Consider the impact of new program requirements on learning
• Identify learning issues that will be a focus for assessment in the future

University-wide Assessment Homepage:

University-wide Assessment Homepage