Graduate Program Assessment

WSU Policy on Program Assessment

The WSU Executive Policy on the Assessment of Student Learning in Degree Programs governs the system for regularly assessing the quality of graduate and professional degree programs offered by the university. This system is intended to provide information that can guide program improvement and meet Washington Student Achievement Council (formerly the Higher Education Coordinating Board) criteria for assessment of educational outcomes in public institutions of higher education in the State of Washington and Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities accreditation standards.

Guidelines for Graduate Programs

The assessment of student learning and success is intended to be a regular, ongoing, iterative process that evaluates each degree program’s quality and effectiveness, stimulates program planning and improvement, and encourages graduate programs to develop and grow in areas that reflect the university’s strategic priorities and initiatives.

All graduate programs are required to have an assessment plan with well-defined student learning outcomes and processes for collecting and using assessment data. Program faculty are responsible for assessing student learning and are expected to demonstrate continuous improvements at the degree program-level that meet the needs and career goals of graduate students who are enrolled in the program. To be effective, graduate program assessment should be faculty-driven, include all students, campuses, and degree options, support department and college-level decision-making, and meet institutional and program requirements for accreditation. Graduate programs document their use of student learning evidence in annual program assessment reports to the Graduate School and the Office of the Provost.

Goals and Progress

The Graduate School strives to have substantially all (>90%) graduate programs reporting that they have met the assessment goals listed below. In any given year, a small number of programs may experience a change in their program structure or planning, resulting in a lack of meaningful data collected for one or more goals.

Percentage of graduate programs that publish program-level or degree-level student learning outcomes on their websites and/or in their student handbooks.79%Data not collected78%87%97%97%94%98%
Percentage of online graduate programs that include online assessment activities in their assessment process.75%100%100%100%100%100%100%100%
Percentage of graduate programs that include data collection as part of their process to assess student learning outcomes.96%Data not collected100%100%100%100%100%100%
Percentage of graduate programs using student learning assessment results in decision-making or planning.72%80%85%97%94%90%91%96%

Assessment Resources for Faculty and Staff

The Graduate School offers the following resources to assist faculty and staff in their program assessment and improvement practices:

  1. Graduate Assessment Plan Template – Assessment plan template and example for doctoral and master’s programs
  2. Student Learning Outcomes for PhD Programs – Examples of learning outcomes statements for new and continuing doctoral programs
  3. Graduate Assessment Resources – “How To” guides and external links on writing student learning outcomes, planning for assessment, creating and using rubrics, choosing data sources and collection methods, discussing assessment results with faculty, and using assessment results for program improvement
  4. WSU Graduate Assessment Highlights – Recent examples describing faculty use of assessment data to improve graduate programs, including: teaching, learning, advising, professional development, and student success
  5. Assessment Terminology – General terms and definitions used in outcomes assessment
  6. Graduate School SharePoint Site – Graduate program assessment reports, assessment plans, feedback letters, student annual review forms, rubrics, and other assessment-related materials (WSU network log-in/departmental access required)

In addition, the Graduate School offers technical assistance, office hours, and training for WSU faculty and staff. Please contact the Graduate School for more information or to schedule a one-on-one assessment consultation.

Scott Avery, MPA
Director of Graduate Assessment
Phone: 509-335-1574

Updated on 4/11/2024.