Annual assessment reporting

Introduction to Annual Assessment Reporting

The purpose of the annual assessment reporting process is to ensure that meaningful assessment occurs on an annual basis at NAU and our culture of assessment continues to expand and evolve.  We have worked to create as flexible a process as possible, understanding that programs demonstrate a wide range of experience in academic assessment.  In addition, we desire to reduce duplications of assessment reporting efforts to ensure time and energy can be devoted to a quality assessment process, particularly for programs engaging in external accreditation efforts.  Our goal is that program faculty will be successful with this process.  

If at any point you have questions about completing or submitting an annual assessment report, or NAU's Annual Assessment Reporting template, or become stuck or uncertain about how to move forward in your assessment process, please contact us immediately. 

For more information about the Assessment process, including the purpose of NAU’s Assessment Process, who participates in assessment, the relationship of assessment to Academic Program Review and External Accreditation Processes, as well as answers to other questions, please click here.

Instructions for Annual Assessment Reporting 

For Degree Programs Using the Academic Program Review Process

Click here to explore instructions for Degree Programs Using the Academic Program Review Process
Select the phase or phases appropriate for your degree program at this time, taking into consideration your current academic goals and strategic plans. Then, complete the Annual Assessment Report Template for those phases, using the UAC Feedback Rubric and the website as guides. If you are unable to complete an entire phase in a single academic year, please complete the portions that you are able to complete and submit those portions, that we may provide feedback and assist you in your assessment endeavors.

For Degree Programs Having External Accreditation Processes

Click here to explore instructions for Degree Programs having External Accreditation processes
If you already have an annual reporting process that was developed by an external accreditation organization, please submit the report you would submit to your external organization in lieu of completing this template.  If you have an annual reporting process for external accreditors, but no pre-determined reporting format, the template provided may be useful in reporting to both the UAC and external accrediting agency.  Please contact your external accrediting agency to ensure the reporting process fulfills your external accreditation annual reporting requirements.  If you have any questions or concerns about how to align your annual external organization reporting with NAU’s process, please contact us immediately.  Regardless of the reporting format sent to the UAC, UAC members will provide feedback about your assessment using the UAC Feedback Rubric.

Following Submission of your Annual Assessment Report

Click here to learn what happens with your annual assessment report

Following submission of your annual assessment report to the University Assessment Committee (UAC), UAC members will review it and provide feedback using the Annual Assessment Report Feedback Rubric, regardless of whether or not you used the Annual Assessment Reporting Template. The Report will be archived on the UAC website (click here to go to the archive which is in revision and will becomplete in Summer 2013).  The primary contact(s) for your report will receive the completed feedback rubric to share with program faculty. The feedback rubric will be placed in a special password-protected archive on the University Assessment Committee website, and will only be accessible through request by the primary contact or department/ program chair. The feedback rubric will also be used to determine whether you are eligible for a Seal of Assessment Excellence of a Letter of Commendation.  Click here to read more about our Assessment Awards.  

You can follow up on the rubric feedback provided by UAC members by contacting Sue Pieper at OCLDAA to schedule a Café Meeting.  The Café Meeting, offered jointly by the UAC and the OCLDAA is a new, informal opportunity for faculty to discuss how to bolster their assessment efforts to answer meaningful questions about their students’ learning. Additionally, program faculty can contact K. Laurie Dickson at OCLDAA to ask questions, obtain consultation from the OCLDAA, or request other assistance. 

The Assessment Process: The purpose of our design

Click here to read about the purpose of our assessment design

There is no single “right” way to design and implement assessment.  Across the country, universities have each adopted an approach they feel is best suited to the priorities and circumstances of their institution.

Similarly, the University Assessment Committee has developed its assessment process and requirements in a manner that honors NAU’s assessment values (click here to read descriptions of the assessment values) ensuring that assessment is (1) faculty-driven; (2) meaningful and useful; (3) focused on student learning; and (4) continual (rather than episodic). 

Our process, template, and feedback rubric were designed specifically to address these, as follows:

  • Our process ensures that faculty members create a vision of their curriculum and develop its structure in a manner they deem best serves their degree program’s academic goals and the unique talents of their department.  This is accomplished through the creation of a Degree Program Mission Statement, Degree Program Learning Outcomes, and a Curriculum Map.
  • Faculty members decide, based on their academic goals and strategic plans, what assessment questions will be most meaningful and useful to assess, and decide what, how, and when to assess learning in their degree programs.
  • The majority, if not all, faculty in the degree program are included in identifying what will be assessed and how the results will be used in decision making, and reviewing findings, discussing interpretations, and deciding what action(s) are appropriate based on their findings.
  • In providing feedback rubrics, our feedback is given directly to the Primary Assessment Contact to distribute to their department, college, and other groups as they see fit.  The degree program faculty members remain in charge of distributing their findings and providing updates to their leadership.  We have selected this approach because we desire that degree programs ask questions that will guide their continual improvement.  In order to ask meaningful questions that will lead to change, faculty need to be in charge of how they will disseminate their own findings.
  • We have designed our process to provide feedback to faculty at various points (phases), that peer faculty can guide and support their colleagues in framing their assessment questions in a manner that collects data that is useful and meaningful to faculty members’ current academic goals and decision making processes.

The Annual Assessment Reporting Template & Phases: How it is designed

Click here to explore how the Annual Assessment Reporting Template was designed

In developing NAU’s Assessment Process we (the University Assessment Committee and the Office of Curriculum, Learning Design & Academic Assessment) conducted extensive research into best practices in assessment and engaged in extensive conversations with faculty and staff to tailor the process to align with our aspirations for NAU’s culture of assessment and provide support and feedback to faculty members to ensure they have the resources they need to achieve excellence with this process.  We ensured our process was as flexible as possible, understanding that programs demonstrate a wide range of experience in academic assessment.  This led to the creation of “Phases” within our assessment process, that a degree program can complete what they are able to complete without being overwhelmed. 

The three phases of our assessment process are each designed to achieve specific assessment goals:

Phase 1 defines the context of the degree program (Mission), its Learning Outcomes, and how the curriculum is designed to achieve those Learning Outcomes (Curriculum Map).  Reviewing the degree program’s context is meant to lead the faculty in the development of meaningful assessment questions, and the development of an assessment design that will provide useful data in answering their assessment questions.

Phase 2 focuses entirely on collecting quality data, which frequently takes significant time and energy. 

Phase 3 explores the findings, interpretations and implications of findings.  The third step is to use the your findings to inform your curriculum, learning design, assessment design, and, when you’re ready, to disseminate your findings to broader populations. 

Once a cycle is completed, return to Phase 1 to make curricular and learning design changes, or to develop a different research question to continue exploration of the degree program.

The annual assessment reporting cycle is designed so that each step within the template provides the foundation for and leads directly to the next step.  Below is a table demonstrating the Assessment Phase, the steps associated with each phase from the Annual Assessment Report Template, and the purpose of the steps in the assessment process.


Assessment Phase

Step in Assessment Template

Purpose of Step in Assessment Process




Phase 1: Mission, Learning Outcomes & Assessment Strategy

1. Degree Program Mission

Identify the broader Mission and purpose(s) of their degree program

2. Degree Program Student Learning Outcomes

Identify the specific knowledge and skills students will possess upon completion of their degree

3. Curriculum Map

Identify how and within which courses Program Learning Outcomes are addressed across the curriculum

4. Assessment Question or Questions

Develop an assessment question, or questions, of importance to the faculty, and identify how they intend to use the information gathered for decision making about the teaching and learning in their program


5. Assessment Design

Identify who, of their students, they will be assessing, and the pros and cons of their assessment methods

6. Assessment Measures

Provide descriptions or actual data collection tools (if they want feedback from the UAC on their tools), to ensure the tools are collecting data useful for decision making

7. Assessment Strategy

Provide a clear plan of who, when, and how the data will be collected, analyzed, and presented to faculty, which assists in realistic planning and utilization of faculty time and resources

Phase 2: Data Collection

8. Data Collection

Collect the data




Phase 3: Findings, Interpretations, & Recommendations

9. Findings, Interpretations & Implications

Analyze the findings, providing and discussing interpretations, and potential actions and decisions that can be made using this information

10. Curricular/ Learning Design Modifications

Describe curricular or learning design changes that the faculty will make based on their findings, if such changes result from the findings

11. Assessment Changes/ Future Assessment Questions

Describe future assessment questions, or assessment changes to make based on findings, if such questions result from the findings

12. Dissemination of Findings

Describe plans for disseminating and sharing the findings, if such dissemination is appropriate for the data collection and findings.

Repeat the process to monitor the effectiveness of curricular changes, and examine other assessment questions.


Contact us

Contact K. Laurie Dickson at OCLDAA with questions, to request assistance from OCLDAA staff, or to schedule a meeting with UAC members.