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Assessment of New Undergraduate Degree Programs

Curriculum Assessment Consideration

For all areas of academic assessment, colleges are responsible for program quality. The Office of Assessment works to support the assessment of academic quality at NC State.

When new undergraduate degree programs are proposed, they will include:

  • Program-level student learning outcomes (often 4 to 7)
  • Program assessment plan

The Office of Assessment is available to assist and review the proposed program-level student learning outcomes and the program assessment plan. Please contact Dr. Stephany Dunstan (

Purpose of Assessment

NC State academic assessment is intended to provide systematic data for the continual enhancement of programs rather than provide proof for accountability. As such, the process is designed so that faculty determine what is important (program-level student learning outcomes), how it is taught, how it is measured (using direct evidence), how the data is interpreted (identifying strengths and areas for improvement), and what actions if any based on findings, should be taken to enhance the curriculum. Standards for academic assessment are set by the Assessment of Academic Programs Regulation (Reg 02.90.01).

Requirements of Academic Program Assessment

Each degree program and certificate:

  • Will have a set of comprehensive, measurable student learning outcomes (often 4 to 7);
  • Will assess at least one program-level student learning outcome each year;
  • Will assess all program-level student learning outcomes within a three to five year cycle;
  • Will use direct measures of learning that are specifically aligned with the outcomes;
  • Will analyze the data at a level that allows for the identification of strengths and areas for improvement within the outcome;
  • Will make clear decisions based on the data collected.

Programs are required to have program-level student learning outcomes. A definition of outcomes is below.

What are Outcomes?

Outcomes are specific, measurable and the priority(s) for the program.

  • Outcomes are observable, measurable results or evidence of  the educational experience.
  • They may be things the program wants students to know (cognitive), ways students think (affective/attitudinal), or things students should be able to do (behavioral, performance, psychomotor).
  • They are detailed and meaningful enough to guide decisions in program planning and improvement and decisions about  pedagogy and practice.

Assessment Plans

Assessment plans include program-level student learning outcomes; the evidence to be collected and source of evidence intended to be used to measure each outcome; the planned frequency for assessing each outcome; and the initial year to be measured. The chart below can be used to create the assessment plan.


Evidence to be collected and source of evidence

Frequency of assessment

Initial year to be measured

Example: Students will demonstrate critical thinking skills.Capstone Project (XX451)Every Three Years2021

Connecting Program Assessment to General Education Competencies

The General Education Competencies represent 5 competency areas in which NC State students should develop during their undergraduate careers. These competencies were selected by NC State faculty because they are fundamental across disciplines and degree programs.

The General Education Competencies were identified and defined by NC State faculty and vetted through the Faculty Senate, the Council on Undergraduate Education, and the Associate Deans. The 5 General Education Competencies are: Critical Thinking, Creative Thinking, Written Communication, Oral Communication, and Quantitative Literacy.

The Office of Assessment will work with faculty who have program level student learning outcomes related to General Education competencies to use rubrics, standardized assessments, and other assessment tools to collect data on student learning. The Office of Assessment is able to facilitate the administration of the assessment (often in conjunction with faculty) and then will provide program level data back to the department. These data can be used to inform annual academic assessment reporting.