Design Step 3: Establish Timeline

One on one help

When will you assess?

Establish a timeline to promote sustainability and meaning


Develop a 3-5-year schedule, working backwards from the Program Review cluster schedule. Plan backwards to schedule assessment of one-or-two PLOs per each academic year leading up to the self-review due date.

Assess early and often

When we place student learning at the center of our assessment activities, we prioritize regular and systematic inquiry into the conditions and practices that promote learning. Regular program assessment will provide faculty and staff with information to make decisions in a more timely and effective manner. Regular assessment allows programs to identify and address barriers to student success in a more timely manner. 

"Assessments conducted just once every five or ten years take more time in the long run because there is a good chance that no one will remember, find the documentation for, or understand the rationale behind the last assessment. ... Imagine trying to balance your checking account once a year rather than every month—or your students cramming for a final rather than studying over an entire term—and you can see how difficult and frustrating infrequent assessments can be, compared to those conducted routinely” (Suskie, 2018, p. 99). 


Sample 5-Year Assessment Timeline

Academic Year

Year 1

(PR-5 years)

Year 2

(PR-4 years)

Year 3

(PR-3 years)

Year 4

(PR-2 years)

Year 5

Program Review due

Assessment Activity Establish / reaffirm PLOs; develop curriculum map Annual inquiry Annual inquiry Annual inquiry Review cumulative results of previous assessment cycles
Guiding Question(s)

How well do the PLOs reflect the program's high expectations for student learning?

Where in the program do students have opportunities to develop toward mastery of the PLOs?


Program Learning Outcome(s) to be assessed n/a PLOs 1 & 2 PLOs 2 & 3 PLO 4; reassess PLO 2  
Evidence (type, source) n/a







Primary Intended Users Faculty, staff, students Faculty, staff, students Faculty, staff, students Faculty, staff, students Faculty, staff, students


Program learning outcomes assessment is a team sport. To ensure that the process is meaningful and that it yields valid and actionable information, program assessment requires participation by faculty, staff, and students.