Assessment Principles and Guidelines

UT Austin's Assessment Principles

Developed and ratified by the 2015 Institutional Effectiveness Committee, these principles outline the university’s assessment philosophy.

1. The University of Texas at Austin values assessment and its use across all levels of the institution.

2. The institution undertakes assessment in order to inquire into and improve student learning andorganizational effectiveness. Assessment helps the university determine how well it is achieving itsmission; it both drives and conveys institutional and program priorities and goals.

3. Driven by utility and practicality, assessment is applied research that involves gathering information fordecision making, action, and ongoing improvement. The institution supports all findings, even thosethat show lower than expected performance.

4. The institution’s assessment processes are well-planned, collaborative, transparent, embedded,adaptive, sustainable, context-sensitive, and evolving.

5. Assessment tells a story about educational experience and organizational performance. It cultivates asense of achievement across campus and complements other ongoing academic review and strategicplanning processes.

6. Engaging in assessment helps the university demonstrate its commitment to excellence while fulfillingaccreditation and other accountability requirements.

7. Student learning assessment is integral to the teaching-learning cycle. It is driven by curiosity aboutstudent learning:  what works and why, what doesn’t work and why, and what can enrich theeducational experience and facilitate student learning and development over time. Similarly,organizational assessment is deeply ingrained in the operational cycle of a unit. It focuses on personneland organizational development and learning and seeks to improve services, efficiency, andeffectiveness.

8. Student understanding of their learning outcomes fosters comprehension and ownership of theireducation. Similarly, faculty, administrators, and staff, with a shared understanding of their unit andprogram goals, strengthen assessment’s role in advancing institutional excellence.

9. Assessment is distinct from performance evaluation or faculty review; it is not used to judge individuals,but serves to guide program level innovation and excellence.


UT Austin's Assessment Guidelines

Developed and ratified by the 2015 Institutional Effectiveness Committee, these guidelines direct the university’s assessment practice.

Institutional Level
1. The institution has a system in place to support program and general education assessment.

2. The institution establishes clear expectations and processes and offers responsive and periodictraining to support assessment.

Program Level
1. Faculty/staff who have primary responsibility for the program are engaged in assessment: planning,implementing, analyzing, and decision making. They receive periodic training in the theory andpractice of assessment.

2. Faculty/staff have shared understanding of goals for student learning and institutional effectiveness.They regularly discuss departmental mission, goals, and outcomes and make them public.

3. Programs encourage ownership and collaboration among primary stakeholders, including faculty, staff,administrators, students, and, where appropriate, employers.

4. Faculty and staff construct curriculum maps, logic models, and/or strategic plans to identify significantelements of their programs and the relationships among goals, outcomes, and activities (strategies).

5. Programs use simple yet meaningful methods to generate useful and usable information for decisionmaking. They identify and embed iterative assessment practices.

6. Programs have a process in place to ensure identified changes are made, disseminated, and studied.Assessment efforts result in action on curricula, pedagogy, operations, processes, or services.

7. Programs continually reflect on and revise assessment processes that include the transparency, use,and dissemination of results and the methods of collaborative decision-making.

8. Programs actively communicate their outcomes, practices, and findings with colleagues and acrosscampus.