As members of an active, diverse, and inclusive community of scholarship and learning, we believe in inquiry. Outcomes assessment is, at its heart, a process of inquiring about student learning, academic programs, and educational effectiveness, and using the result of that inquiry to inform curricular, budgetary, and strategic planning decisions.

… to ensure that we provide equitable opportunities-to-learn for all UC Davis students.

Faculty members want to know, among other things, whether
students in their classes and programs are acquiring the knowledge, proficiencies, and dispositions valued by their disciplines.”
– Kuh et al. 2015

Engaging in outcomes assessment makes institutional, program, and course “expectations explicit and thereby levels the playing field for students, provides faculty members with collective information upon which to base decisions about the curriculum, and provides administrators with meaningful evidence of authentic learning with which to answer demands for accountability” ( Deffenbacher, 2011 ).

… to ask ourselves, Is what we are doing working?

We wouldn’t do a research experiment and not find out if the actual experiment was working.
– Susan Keen, Evolution and Ecology

As new faculty member Susan Gentry (Lecturer with Potential Security of Employment, Department of Materials Science and Engineering) explains, the purpose of assessment is “Determining students’ abilities and correlating them to instructor expectations and stated course outcomes.” When faculty assess, they are “figuring out what a student has learned,” says Edward Ross Dickinson, Professor and Chairperson, Department of History

… to improve academic programs

Assessment is inquiry into the relationship between educational goals and achievement.
– Matthew Stratton, English

Outcomes assessment ensures that “programs [have] the information needed to reform curriculum and practices to align actual student achievement more closely with the program's goals.” Davis Division of the Academic Senate

...to meet regional and national reporting requirements

A student-centered process, Learning outcomes assessment at UC Davis is faculty-driven, locally-defined, and program-specific.

As a public institution, UC Davis is required to participate in an accreditation process administered by our regional accrediting agency, WASC Senior College and University Commission. We recently received reaffirmation of accreditation through June 2024. Currently, we are preparing for a Special Visit in Spring 2018 during which we will focus on our progress towards consistent use of assessment data across departments.