Physics Lecture Hall

Resources and Workshops


Program Assessment Basics

This workshop covered the basics of assessing student learning at the program level, including creating student learning outcomes, curriculum maps and assessment methods. The handout is available here.

Planning and Coordinating Program Level Assessment

This handout presents some ideas on how to organize assessment activities across multiple courses or instructors and how they might be planned over time.

ePortfolios: Documenting and Assessing Student Learning

Portfolios can provide students with ways to collect, reflect upon and present examples of their own work. For a brief on eportfolios- including several (free) online platforms- see this handout. This  presentation  from the campus instructional design group has ideas on finding and implementing a portfolio tool.

Teaching and Assessing Oral Communication 

A past workshop highlighted efforts by the Department of Theater Film and Digital Production to expand course offerings focused on oral communication. A rubric that may be very useful for assessing oral communication in other courses on this campus (with or without modification) is available here.


Rubrics can be useful in a number of ways, including assessment of student learning. A well-designed rubric can help align evidence of student learning from particular assignments in particular courses with program level student learning outcomes. A rubric can also allow assessment work to overlap with routine grading and streamline the assessment process. Thanks to Golberry Long for this example rubric for a writing assignment  and a blank rubric that could be used to create your own rubric. The Instructional Design Group has provided additional information on integrating rubrics into iLearn.  

Quantitative Reasoning (AY 2018-19)

Quantitative reasoning was first assessed in AY 2013-14, the Office of Evaluation and Assessment will ask departments to report on quantitative reasoning again in AY 2018-19.

WASC defines quantitative reasoning as “the ability to apply mathematical concepts to the interpretation and analysis of quantitative information in order to solve a wide range of problems, from those arising in pure and applied research to everyday issues and questions. It may include such dimension as the ability to apply math skills, judge reasonableness, communicate quantitative information, and recognize the limits of mathematical or statistical methods” (WASC Handbook 2013, p 55).

Perhaps more than the other competencies, quantitative reasoning looks different in different disciplines and, thus, need not be understood only in the terms of WASC’s definition. It can be understood, at a basic level, as seeing mathematics as a way to think - not just a set of techniques - and some degree of confidence when thinking in a quantitative fashion. Other ways of thinking about quantitative reasoning include a habit of mind centered on “meaning-making” with numbers or an aspect of citizenship in so far as numbers are a principal component of public argument (e.g.,statistics presented by the media in relation to important issues). Quantitative reasoning also includes the ability to see the limitations of numerical data.

Departments wishing to assess the skills of their students in quantitative reasoning may want to use, or adapt and modify, the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) rubric for assessing quantitative reasoning (available here).

The following UC campus web sites provide extensive resources on student learning outcome assessment, with templates, sample learning outcomes, best practices, and detailed how-to guides.

National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA)

Established in 2008, the mission of the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) is to discover and disseminate ways that academic programs and institutions can productively use assessment data internally to inform and strengthen undergraduate education, and externally to communicate with policy makers, families and other stakeholders.

WASC 2013 Handbook of Accreditation

Newly revised, the WASC 2013 Handbook provides a broad overview of accreditation process and the larger context for the institutional mandate of assessing student learning.

Association of American Colleges and Universities' (AAC&U) rubrics for Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education (VALUE)

All VALUE rubrics can be found here, and additional information about the VALUE initiative at the AAC&U's website.