Skip to main content
Office of the Provost

UW Assessment Services and Initiatives

Assessment groups and services

  • The Office of Educational Assessment conducts original studies of teaching and learning at the University of Washington and provides assessment services to academic and non-academic units.

Regularly administered assessment surveys

  • Alumni Surveys have been conducted by the Office of Educational Assessment since the 1980’s. This biennial survey asks undergraduate and graduate students to evaluate their academic programs and describe their post-graduation activities (employment, further study, etc.). Results are used by academic departments to improve curricula.
  • The ECAR Student and Faculty Research Studies ask students and faculty about the types of technology they use, how they use it, and for what purposes. It is administered annually by UW-IT and is used to guide technology development and implementation.
  • The annual EDUCAUSE Core Data Service Survey is completed by UW-IT. Its benchmarks inform IT strategic planning and management and focus on IT financials, staffing, and services data. The comparative data from peer institutions is used to guide technology development and implementation.
  • The Libraries Triennial Survey has been conducted every three years since 1992. The survey focuses on library use, importance, and satisfaction as well as user needs and library priorities. The survey is administered by the Libraries Office of Assessment and Planning and used to inform changes to Libraries services and programs to better address the library and information needs of the UW community.
  • The Libraries In Library Use Survey assesses library use by students, faculty, and visitors while within the Libraries’ physical spaces. It is conducted every three years by the UW Libraries Office of Assessment and Planning and is used to inform changes to Libraries services and programs, especially as they relate to library facilities.
  • The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) seeks to assess the nature and quality of the undergraduate student experience. This survey has been administered four times to first year and senior undergraduate students at UW Seattle by the Office of Educational Assessment for the purpose of supporting programmatic changes in academic and student life programming.
  • The Student Experience in the Research University (SERU) asks about undergraduate students’ experiences, satisfaction, and achievement. It was first administered at UW Seattle in 2014 by the Office of Educational Assessment and will be used to support changes in academic and student life programming.

Ongoing assessment programs

  • Assessment within the Major reports summarize student learning goals, assessment methodologies, and actions taken as a result of assessment findings for all academic programs. This information is obtained through departmental polls conducted every two years by the Office of Educational Assessment. It is used by departments to modify their curricula and to contribute to the 10-year program review process.
  • Course evaluations are conducted in more than half of all classes at all three UW campuses. This service is supported by the Office of Educational Assessment and results are used for immediate instructional improvement and as part of standard promotion and tenure procedures.

Recent assessment studies

  • The UW Undergraduate Retention and Graduation Study was undertaken in 2014 by the Office of Educational Assessment to learn which groups of students are more likely to leave the UW than others, understand more about why those students leave, and identify strategies for intervening in future students’ decisions. It followed-up on the previous Study of Attrition and Retention (UW STAR) conducted in 2006. These surveys support programmatic changes in academic and student life units.
  • UW Growth in Faculty Teaching Study (UW GIFTS) examined how often faculty make changes in their teaching, what those changes are, and why they make them. It was conducted by the Office of Educational Assessment and published in book form in 2013 with the purpose of stimulating and facilitating improvement of post-secondary teaching.
  • The UW Husky Experience Discovery Project included a student survey and interviews to explore challenges faced by students as they participate in co-curricular activities. The study was conducted by UW Information Technology in 2014 to support programmatic changes to increase student capabilities in leadership, cultural understanding, community engagement and public service, career strategy, lifelong learning, and health & wellness.
  • UW Senior Research Study (UW SRS) was a focus group study examining the research experience of seniors in fifteen academic majors. It was conducted by the Office of Educational Assessment in 2009 to support programmatic improvements in undergraduate research at the UW.
  • UW Study of Undergraduate Learning (UW SOUL) was a four-year study tracking 304 undergraduates through their years in college. It was conducted by the Office of Educational Assessment and published in book form in 2007 with the purpose of highlighting pedagogical approaches to improve teaching and learning at post-secondary institutions.