UNLV Academic Assessment Plan

An Institutional Plan for Academic Assessment

University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Office of Academic Assessment in the Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs


The mission of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas calls for individual achievement through education, research, scholarship, creative activities, and clinical services. The university's educational programs are built upon a fundamental set of core principles designed to help students improve their academic knowledge and skills. By providing faculty administrative support and the tools they need to effectively assess student learning, UNLV is approaching its goal of establishing an evidence-based, faculty-driven culture of academic assessment.

Definition of Assessment

UNLV defines academic assessment as the evaluation of student learning with the intent to improve it.

Rationale for Assessment

UNLV is committed to a program of academic assessment that focuses on the improvement of student learning. The university recognizes that student learning occurs both within and outside the classroom, and has hired outstanding faculty to facilitate this process. Standards 1.C.3 and 1.C.5 of the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities' (NWCCU) Accreditation Standards require UNLV to have a plan that includes student learning outcomes that are consistent with the university's mission and structure. The NWCCU stresses that student learning outcomes assessment is an essential component of institutional assessment and as such will be examined during institutional accreditation.

Audiences for Assessment

Internal Audiences
Data from assessment is used by a number of internal audiences to set benchmarks for institutional improvement. The Academic Assessment Committee uses student learning outcomes assessment data to formulate recommendations for institutional improvement at the course and program levels. Data from institutional assessments are used to measure mission fulfillment. Degree program faculty and administrators use data to prepare self-studies for program review and accreditation, to evaluate and revise curricula, and to monitor program effectiveness. Executive level officers use the data for goal-setting, decision-making, and evaluation.

External Audiences
The NWCCU requires assessment of student learning as part of the reaccreditation process. In preparation for reaccreditation visits, the university submits a report with data showing the intellectual and personal growth of UNLV's students from the time they begin their college degree program to the time they graduate. The Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) requires system institutions to prepare a biennial assessment report. Information from the report is used to set goals for system improvement, and to evaluate institutional effectiveness. Nevada's Legislative Counsel Bureau frequently requests data to inform legislative decision-making. Additionally, the general public becomes an audience for assessment data as the institution shares the characteristics and accomplishments of both its students and faculty through media reports, college guidebooks, and recruiting materials.

Assumptions about Institutional Assessment

UNLV's academic assessment plan is based on the following set of assumptions. The university's assessment efforts will be:

  1. Focused primarily on improving student learning both within and outside the classroom
  2. Related directly to institutional decisions both through administrative structure and institutional planning
  3. Grounded in the institutional values set forth in the mission statement, among which are:
    • Advance student achievement
    • Promote research, scholarship and creative activity
    • Foster community partnerships
  4. Inclusive, participatory, and collaborative
  5. Based upon the university's mission and goals
  6. Useful for multiple purposes that include but are not limited to curricular revision, teaching improvement, accreditation expectations, and accountability to the public
  7. Promoting and advancing an evidence-based, faculty-driven institutional culture of academic assessment

Our Mission

The Office of Academic Assessment supports UNLV’s mission, and in particular, Core Area: Student Achievement by encouraging a culture of continuous improvement focused on the evaluation of student learning.

This is accomplished in alignment with the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) Transparency Framework by:

  1. Assisting academic units in creating and refining student learning outcomes that clearly communicate the knowledge, skills, and competencies that students are expected to acquire in their programs of study. [NILOA, Student Learning Outcomes Statements]
  2. Providing support in aligning program student learning outcomes to the University Undergraduate Learning Outcomes (UULOs) and Graduate Learning Outcomes (GLOs). [NILOA, Student Learning Outcomes Statements]
  3. Working with academic units in developing faculty-designed, sustainable assessment plans that provide actionable information about student learning. [NILOA, Assessment Plans]
  4. Providing professional development for academic assessment that is responsive to faculty needs, reflects current best practices, and is presented in multiple formats at all ability levels, in order to assist all faculty in developing, communicating and using evidence of student learning. [NILOA, Assessment Resources]
  5. Serving as an accreditation resource for the University community by providing support for individual units as they prepare for national accreditation, producing data reports for regional accreditation purposes, and engaging in Institution-level assessment activities. [NILOA, Assessment Resources]
  6. Facilitating communication about assessment activities through a variety of formats, including academic assessment mini-grants, academic assessment awards, conference presentations and other on- and off-campus opportunities for faculty and staff. [NILOA, Current Assessment Activities; NILOA, Evidence of Student Learning]

Assisting units in analyzing and using their assessment data to improve student learning, through professional development opportunities, individual and department-level consultations, feedback from peers and Office of Academic Assessment staff, and customized data reports from our Institution-level survey projects. [NILOA, Evidence of Student Learning; NILOA, Use of Student Learning Evidence]