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Institutional Research, Assessment, and Analytics

Assessment Cycle at the University of South Carolina

Assessment is a continuos improvement process that cycles through three main activities: Assess; Plan; Improve. 


  • Collect assessment data (August - December; January - May; June - July -- if applicable)
  • Aggregate and analyse results; update annual assessment report with the results (April - May)


  • Develop an assessment plan for the upcoming academic year; make sure to incorporate changes suggested by the previous year's assessment results (April - May)
  • Dsicuss assessment plans with faculty to ensure everyone is aware of their responsibilitiesin terms of data collection, etc (August, January)


  • Decide how assessment results should be used to improve the program; update annual report accordingly (April - May)
  • Implement changes to improve the program and student learning (August)

The Office of Institutional Research, Assessment, and Analytics (OIRAA) is here to help faculty and staff as they develop and implement an academic assessment plan for their program in order to measure student learning outcomes, and report on their findings.


By June 1st, each degree-granting program must submit an assessment document (i.e., assessment report and plan).

  1. The assessment report presents data pertaining to the program’s strengths and weaknesses garnered from the previous year’s assessment activities, and delineates how the findings will be used to change curriculum, or as a basis to change assessment procedures, all of which will improve the program and ultimately student learning.  The key components of a report include the Results and Use of Results.
  2. The assessment plan describes in detail how the program will assess students’ performance during the upcoming academic year.  This document includes: Mission Statement, Goals, Learning Outcomes, Curriculum, Measures/Criteria, & Methods.

Every academic program must submit an annual assessment plan, including programs delivered either distance or at another location. If the distance program is also delivered traditionally, the program director should annually submit one plan with the assessment results disaggregated to compare the quality of student work in the distance program to the quality of work in the traditional program.

Instructions and examples are available to help in writing assessment reports and plans.

Designated faculty can create their program’s assessment document (i.e., the report and plan) electronically through Assessment Plan Composer so that it is submitted in the desired format. When the assessment document is finished, it may be submitted to the Office of Institutional Research, Assessment, and Analytics for review, where it will be either accepted or sent back with comments requesting additional information. The Office of Institutional Research, Assessment, and Analytics is here to offer assistance with this process at any time. We are available to meet with you and your colleagues, review drafts of your assessment plans, and provide technical assistance when using Assessment Plan Composer.

Academic Deans

By June 1st, academic deans submit an executive summary and the assessment documents (i.e., assessment reports and plans) from the degree-granting programs within their respective colleges to the Office of the Provost. The executive summary highlights the major results and use of results of the college’s program assessment, and demonstrates how assessment activities have budgetary effects.

Institutional Research, Assessment, and Analytics

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