Assessment at Gallaudet is being developed as a critical inquiry into student learning (Maki, 2004). The Gallaudet University community recognizes the need to adopt an assessment process that advances evidence-based decisions about teaching, learning, bilingualism, diversity, campus life, academic support and administrative services. Fostered by intellectual curiosity and a concern for student academic growth and personal development, the assessment process at Gallaudet University aspires to continuously reflect on student achievement of learning outcomes and institutional effectiveness and use assessment data to increase student learning. Institutional Effectiveness and Certification leads university efforts in the use of the assessment process as a mechanism for creating lifelong learners. Assessment serves all who serve Gallaudet students in this multicultural, bilingual academic environment. It provides the conceptual framework for assessment, monitors assessment processes, and guides the University in the use of data to maintain a culture of academic rigor and excellence.


  • Promote a culture of critical inquiry and evidence-based decision making.
  • Engage students, faculty, staff and administrators in conversations about learning inside and outside the classroom.
  • Provide leadership and coordination in assessment.
  • Ensure excellence in academic instruction, student academic support, student development and student services.
  • Coordinate the collection, analysis, sharing and use of assessment data.
  • Produce evidence of student learning outcomes necessary for accrediting agencies.
  • Monitor equity in access to the curriculum for all Gallaudet students.
  • Bring best practices and methods of assessment to the Gallaudet community.
  • Offer professional development opportunities for faculty and staff.


  • Academic Program Review
  • Non-Academic Program Review
  • Annual Assessment Plans
  • Accreditation Review support
  • Institutional Assessment
  • Academic Assessment Council
  • State Authorization


Common Questions

All programs in Academic Affairs submit an annual Learning Assessment Update (LAU) in June. All units in Student Affairs submit their LAUs in August. LAUs were submitted via the online assessment management system of WEAVE. To submit an LAU now, contact Rosanne Bangura ( and he can make the form available to you. The LAUs should document the ongoing assessment processes that includes the components of Student Learning Outcomes, measures performance targets, scoring criteria, data summary, data analysis, and findings. The improvements are tracked because there is a record of current and past LAUs.
Both are necessary for continued improvement, but the purposes and timelines are different. Assessment is an ongoing process that occurs during each academic year and focuses on student-specific outcomes for a single academic major program. An academic program review occurs every few years. It is used as a comprehensive evaluation of the overall effectiveness of an entire academic unit that may administer multiple degree programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Student learning is the major component for determining institutional effectiveness. A review of institutional effectiveness will assess additional avenues of institutional activities. It is important for programs to assess their outcomes with the goals of the college and institution in mind. The combination of institutional effectiveness and program assessments ensures the best data will be available for assessing the effectiveness of the mission of the university.
No. The purpose of academic program assessment is not to evaluate individual students or instructors. The purpose is to determine the extent to which program graduates possess the intended knowledge and skills of the program when they graduate, and to use the information gathered to support larger picture programatic improvements over time.
Both activities are used to measure the degrees to which students have been learning concepts. Grading is a measure based upon individual students whereas assessment focuses on the performance and gains of an entire cohort of students.
  • Grades do not provide meaningful information on exactly what a student has learned. Assessments should address precisely the areas of strengths and weaknesses that students are having within the curriculum. A grade of a “B” does not accurately detail which elements of the curriculum were mastered and which were not.
  • Grading and assessment criteria may differ. As course grades can be based upon a number of factors such as points for attendance and penalties for late papers, assessment practices should not consider these elements in their scoring, focusing entirely on the outcomes and performance of the students.
  • Grading standards may be inconsistent. Assessment reviews should often be done through rubrics by committees to ensure consensus. Course and assignment grades may depend on the experiences and expectations of a singular reviewer.
As soon as a new program has been approved, an assessment plan is made. Considering many aspects of the new program may not be in place yet, it is still important for program faculty to know the intended program outcomes at the time a program is created. It is equally important for faculty to identify where in the curriculum that students will be exposed to program content, have opportunities to reinforce initial learning on that content, and ultimately to demonstrate their knowledge of the content. A curriculum map may be necessary at this point. The Office of Academic Quality will review each draft plan and either approve it or return it for revision. When the recommended revisions have been made, the plan must be submitted for final review. Final approval will be uploaded to Blackboard under Program Assessment Outcomes. After approval, assessment plans must be updated if there are significant changes in the program, measures, or scoring criteria. The university assessment coordinator is available to assist you with assessment planning and curriculum mapping.

Policies and Information

All academic programs including majors and certificates, undergraduate and graduate, and units in Student Affairs are expected to participate in assessing student learning.
Yes. We are still accountable to our institutional accreditation body for the assessment of student learning. There are some specialized accreditors that require programs to engage in the assessment of student learning but are not prescriptive about how that should occur. Such agencies rely on the programs to participate in the institutional assessment activities and to document the evidence of those activities.
No. The assessment team does not keep a tally of the number of outcomes met. We do not report these numbers to deans, the provosts, the accreditors, or to anyone else. We do, however, maintain logs of units that have current assessment documents on file, and the quality of those documents. We provide feedback to units on whether their assessment practices are likely to provide meaningful information about student learning that can be used to improve learning over time. It is important that units who identify simplistic outcomes, weak measures, and unreasonably low performance criteria receive lower ratings than units who set reasonable expectations, acknowledge when outcomes have not been met, and identify realistic changes to address any issues they identify. Remember: We are not graded on the number of outcomes we meet but on our efforts to collect meaningful information about student learning and then use that information to improve student learning.

Services and Support

Continuous improvement of our programs is an important priority for educators who want to do everything possible to prepare our graduates to perform in society, in the workplace, or in graduate school. Assessment planning and reporting allow faculty to report the specific learning outcomes they desire for their graduates and to collect solid evidence of how well those outcomes have been achieved. Assessment is required to maintain institutional accreditation as well as specialized program accreditation. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education, Gallaudet’s regional accrediting body, places heavy emphasis on assessment of student learning. Assessment is at the core of MSCHE’s seven Standards and Student Learning Assessment is crucial to Standard V Educational Effectiveness Assessment. Additionally, program accreditors (e.g. American Psychological Association, National Association for the Education of Young Children, Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs) require evidence of the assessment of student learning. There are more than nine accredited programs at Gallaudet University. For more information about programs with accreditation requirements at Gallaudet, please visit Accreditation and Approval.

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