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Support for Assessment of Program Learning Outcomes

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?

The 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.

How Does the Commons Support UC San Diego’s WSCUC Accreditation?

The Teaching + Learning Commons is available to support Program Learning Outcomes Assessment, which is a critical component of WSCUC accreditation. We provide consultations, workshops and online resources to assist departments in accomplishing their assessment milestone laid out by the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Education.

Assessment Milestones

The following milestones are included in the current program learning outcome assessment cycle:   
Milestone Description Deliverable
1. Reflection Report Review prior assessment activities and document lessons learned Narrative Reflection (download the reflection report template)
2. Program Learning Outcome Review and Revision Make data-informed adjustments to program learning outcomes --
3. Curriculum Map Clarify relationship between courses and program learning outcomes Data Matrix, with Narrative Reflection (download the curriculum map template
4. Implementation Plan Determine how the program will measure student attainment and analyze results Data Collection and Interpretation Plan (download implementation plan template)
5. Assessment Report Analysis of assessment data and artifacts, along with recommendations Narrative and Statistical Report (download the assessment report template)


Deliverables should be submitted to Hailey Caraballo,, in the office of the Dean of Undergraduate Education.

Click on the drawers below for more information about each milestone and deliverable.

Assessment Timeline

timeline showing 5 milestones from chart above drawer (

Milestone 1. Reflection Report

To accomplish this milestone, departments are expected to use the reflection report document to guide a review of their current assessment process and discuss successes, challenges, and barriers to their assessment efforts in the past five years. The Teaching + Learning Commons offers consultations to guide departments through review of their previous and current assessment activities to prioritize assessment goals, determine needed data, identify existing data, and address challenges and constraints in their assessment process.

Milestone 2. Program Learning Outcome Review and Revision

After the learning outcomes are developed, it will likely be ne necessary to revise program learning outcome statements to reflect changes in the field, refocus priorities, or tighten the statements for better communication of the expectations. The WASC Program Learning Outcome Rubric can be used to self-assess program learning outcomes. Additionally, we can provide consultation and support for the process of updating program learning outcomes. 


Milestone 3. Curriculum Map

A Curriculum Map is a matrix that shows the connections between courses and program learning outcomes. It demonstrates curricular coherence, identifies redundancies and/or gaps in outcome coverage, and illustrates where in the curriculum a program learning outcome is introduced, reinforced, and demonstrated. It serves as a powerful assessment planning tool and provides evidence for alignment between course and program learning outcomes (one of the criteria that WSCUC uses to assess the quality of academic program). More information about why and how to use curriculum maps can be found at Linda Suskie’s assessment blog.  

Departments can get started with their development process by consulting with assessment specialists and/or reviewing forms and resources available from The Commons.

Milestone 4. Assessment Implementation Plan

After defining program learning outcomes and developing a curriculum map, departments can identify how program learning outcomes are addressed in the curriculum. This data informs the selection of appropriate program requirements (e.g., lower-division courses, capstone course, internships, and undergraduate research experience) for collecting assessment data.

At this stage, programs can use existing assessments (e.g., course assignments, student surveys, or institutional student records), or develop new measures to generate assessment data. The Commons offers consultations (e.g., rubric development, survey development, student written assignment development, and reflection prompt question development) and a suite of services (e.g., online survey administration, classroom observations, student focus groups, inquiry of institutional student data) to help departments select assessment methods and collect assessment data.

Milestone 5. Assessment Report

An assessment report disseminates findings, documents the assessment process, influences future actions, and responds to requirements by accreditation bodies (e.g. WSCUC and professional accreditation bodies). 

A typical assessment report:

  • Contextualizes the assessment work by describing the program, the assessed learning outcomes, and purposes of the report.
  • Describes assessment methodologies and procedures (e.g., types of measures, sample sizes, response rates, responsible people, timing of the assessment activities, a copy of instruments (questionnaire, rubric, prompt questions)).
  • Synthesizes data from multiple sources around stated goals.
  • Aligns recommendations/implications with assessment findings.

The Engaged Teaching Hub is available to help departments identify educational opportunities and strategies to address issues revealed by the assessment results.

Forms and Resources

Please visit Assessment of Program Learning Outcomes for more information about the assessment milestones as well as quick links to UC San Diego assessment forms developed by the Teaching + Learning Commons.

If these resources don't address your questions or if you are interested in a review of draft materials, please contact us:

Teaching + Learning Commons
(858) 822-1992