Student Learning Assessment

Regular and ongoing assessment of student learning is a critical component to ensuring the quality and continuous improvement of academic programs at Illinois Tech. 

Illinois Tech has a robust, faculty-centered structure to conduct core, program, and co-curricular assessment, linked by an overlapping committee structure and unified in support of developing a culture of assessment that provides meaningful data to improve educational quality and student success. 

What is Assessment?

Assessment refers to the systematic measurement of student achievement of learning goals. In the assessment process, data is gathered and analyzed to determine to what extent student are meeting the learning goals.  

Assessment enables faculty and other stakeholders to maintain consistency across curricula and to determine when or where curricular adjustments are needed. Assessment is a crucial part of the accreditation requirements for Illinois Tech. Most importantly, assessment is a tool to ensure that students are developing the skills they need for success. 

Our core mission at Illinois Tech is "to provide distinctive and relevant education in an environment of scientific, technological, and professional knowledge creation and innovation." So, how do we as an institution know if the education provided through our courses and programs is distinctive and relevant? How can we as an institution ensure that we focus on what our students do in the workforce and in society in general? Through continuous assessment of student learning.

Student Learning Assessment and Grades

The spirit of the assessment is one of continuous improvement. Student learning assessment provides feedback to faculty about how well the program curriculum is working to help students achieve the learning goals of the program. In contrast, grades provide feedback to individual students about how well they are mastering the content of the course. 

Assessment at Illinois Tech

This section contains more information about how faculty conduct assessment at Illinois Tech, including best practices and templates for Program Assessment Plans and Annual Program Assessment Reports.

Program, core curriculum, and cocurricular assessment all maintain regular cycles of continuous improvement. See the Timelines and Calendar section of the Assessment at Illinois Tech Google Site for details. 

Program Assessment typically runs on an annual cycle per its Program Assessment Plan. Annual program summary reports are due the fall term after the term assessed. For example, reports and recommendations on goals reviewed against Fall 2023-Spring 2024 student work are due Fall 2024, typically October. 

Core Curriculum Assessment is a 3 year cycle evaluating core curriculum competencies and objectives against student course work. 

Cocurricular Assessment will have its own regular cycle of its goals reviewed against student work. 

Assessment uses some unique terminology. The Glossary of Assessment Terms   is a list of common terms and variations used at Illinois Tech.

Program Assessment provides the faculty and institution data on student achievement of program learning objectives (PLOs) for its specific program

Program owners are responsible for annual student learning assessment of their programs against their program's unique PLOs. 

Program assessment plans are initially created as part of the overall institutional program approval process. They may be updated by the program owners as needed. Every year, program owners review student work against some or all of its PLOs, in accordance with their plan. The result is an annual summary of data reviewed and recommendations to be implemented. These annual program reports are due the fall term after the term assessed. For example, reports and recommendations on goals reviewed against Fall 2023-Spring 2024 student work are due Fall 2024, typically October. 

The University Program Assessment Committee (UPAC) provides support and assistance to Program Assessment Coordinators (PACs). See the Assessment at Illinois Tech Google Site for more. 

Distinct from program assessment and cocurricular assessment, Core Curriculum Assessment provides the faculty and institution data on student achievement of those core learning objectives that are the hallmark of an Illinois Tech graduate. 

The Core Curriculum refers to the system of courses designed to promote the development of 21st century competencies throughout their academic work at Illinois Tech. The core curriculum includes components from STEM, Humanities, Natural Science, Computer Science, IPRO, Communication, and the Social Sciences. 

Find undergraduate core curriculum goals published in the university bulletin.

The Core Curriculum Assessment Committee (CCAC) assesses the core curriculum on a 3 year cycle. Find the Core Curriculum process, courses and categories and its 3-year assessment information on the Assessment at Illinois Tech Google Site

Are you teaching a Core Designated Course? To get started, jump to these resources first in our Assessment at Illinois Tech Google Site.

Cocurricular Assessment focuses on the university-wide learning objectives and goals that go above and beyond programs and courses. Cocurricular projects align with the mission of Illinois Tech and provide students with learning experiences to prepare them for professional practices.  

The Cocurricular Assessment Committee is working on updating its cocurricular goals and assessment plans to provides the faculty and institution data on student achievement of those professional learning objectives outside the curriculum that are the hallmark of Illinois Tech graduates. 

See our Assessment at Illinois Tech Google Site for even more information and FAQs

Program Assessment Basics

Assessment Plan Essentials This guide and template will help you create your program assessment plan. 

Annual Report Template 2021-22  This template is for your program's annual report. 

See more in the Program Assessment page of the Assessment at Illinois Tech Google Site

UPAC manages IIT Assessment Organization in Blackboard for submission of program assessment plans and annual reports by the Program Assessment Coordinators (PACs). 

Blackboard Outcomes streamlines assessment for faculty involved in student learning assessment, from the course instructor from whose course the student artifacts for assessment are collected, the faculty who evaluate the student artifacts, and the faculty program-level assessment coordinator.  

The videos below demonstrate how the faculty in each of these roles interact with Blackboard Outcomes to accomplish program-level student learning assessment.


  1. How to Get Started Using Blackboard for Student Learning Assessment (for faculty program-level student learning assessment coordinators)
  2. How to Align an Assignment in Blackboard with Program-level Student Learning Outcomes (for course instructors)
  3. How to Evaluate Student Artifacts in Blackboard Outcomes (for faculty who evaluate the student artifacts for assessment)


Blackboard Outcomes Configuration Workbook (for faculty program-level assessment coordinators)