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AY 2018-19 Academic Program Assessment Timeline

Accreditation Support: Learning Outcomes Development

UC San Diego is accredited by the regional accreditor "WASC Senior College and University Commission" (WSCUC), formerly known as WASC. To learn more about the university's accreditation, visit

Why Does Accreditation Matter to UC San Diego?

Accreditation process aids institutions in developing and sustaining effective educational programs and assures the public that an accredited institution has met high standards of quality and effectiveness. An institution’s accreditation status has a huge impact on students’ access to federal financial aid, transferability of their credits to another institution, and eligibility for obtaining professional licensure in the field.  

WASC Support Available to UC San Diego Departments and Faculty

The Teaching + Learning Commons is available to support Academic Program Assessment, which is a critical component of WASC accreditation. We provide consultations, workshops and online resources to assist departments in their assessment activities required by the Office of Undergraduate Education

AY18-19 Academic Program Assessment Expectations and Timeline

More information about AY18-19 expectations are available at XXX <link to Office of Undergrad Education>


As one of the WASC expectations, each department needs to reflect on their assessment process to discuss successes, challenges, and barriers of assessment in the past five years. Based on the exploratory interviews conducted by the UC San Diego WASC Work Group with members of Council on Undergraduate Education (CUE) in June 2018, a key take-away message is that the depth of planning and implementation of learning outcomes assessment varies across departments significantly. To act upon the interview results, we need to develop clear assessment expectations, a robust structure, and comprehensive resources to assist departments on the important process towards becoming a student-centered university.  To accomplish that, as a first step, please address the following questions in your reflection report:

  • In the past five years (fall 2013 to fall 2018), what data did your department collect to assess the learning outcomes listed on your programs’ Inventory of Educational Effectiveness Indicators (IEEI)? (Select “Past Inventory of Educational Effectiveness Indicators (previous format.”)
  • What successes and challenges did you discover through the assessment process? What were the next steps suggested and supported by the assessment results?
  • If no data was collected, what barriers and obstacles did your department experience while implementing the IEEI? What do you plan to do to address the issues/challenges?

Review and Revision

Review and revise your program’s Inventory of Educational Effectiveness Indicators (IEEI) (select “Past Inventory of Educational Effectiveness Indicators (previous format”) to create an assessment plan to guide your assessment implementation. Use the assessment results of the past five years and other relevant program information and data (e.g., changes in program enrollment, new requirements by your discipline-based association, current workforce skill requirements, or new program missions) to improve your program learning outcomes, align (where applicable) your program outcomes to WASC Core Competencies, determine the timeline, and identify responsible people.

An assessment plan template <link to the template> is available for departments to use or adapt. Departments may use a different template, as long as it contains the following essential components:

  • Program Learning Outcomes <link to document on how to develop LOs>

  • WASC core competencies that the Program Learning Outcomes align with
  • Assessment methods
  • Assessment implementation timeline
  • People who are responsible for the assessment <Link to faculty committee rotating plan>
  • Planned use of the assessment results

Forming a faculty committee or work group (optional)

Sample committee charge statements

Data collection

Assessment Methods

Access to institutional student records (e.g., grades, enrollment, GPAs, demographics)


The assessment process is continuous and iterative. Frequently observing and discussing the quality of students’ work is part of a successful program. The key to sustaining the process is gathering a small but random and representative sample of work all the time, asking only central questions on a subset of goals in a subset of years. Over time, the pattern of evidence of learning will make sense, so it is better to be selective and steady than to do too much in a given year.

Data Interpretation

"Collecting data is one thing, but making sense of them is something else. We want to use analytic techniques that are simple, direct, and effective" (Allen, 2004, p. 131).

What can we learn from the results?

  • How do these results align with the target performance expectations? Are there differences between expected and actual results?
  • How do the results from direct and indirect evidence confirm, contradict, and/or challenge each other?
  • What story or stories about student performance related to program learning outcomes do the results support? 
  • What areas of strength to the results reveal?
  • What is working and should be continued? Scaled up?
  • What needs to change to improve student learning outcomes? 

Reporting and Action

The following diagram illustrates the annual assessment and reporting process: