Assessment of Student Learning


The University has instituted a university-wide program of direct, curriculum-embedded, performance-based assessment and improvement of student learning. Through the efforts of administration, faculty, staff, the Curriculum Development and Design department, the University Assessment Committee, and the Office of Assessment, the institution has implemented its program of ongoing continuous improvement of all aspects of student learning and institutional effectiveness.

Grand Canyon University's campus-wide assessment program uses both face-to-face (f2f) and virtual (online) blind review assessment processes for both undergraduate General Education core skills and graduate Mission-Critical competencies. The blind review process is designed to ensure that the student learning evidence compiled through these campus-wide efforts is authentic, valid, and reliable.

The University Assessment Plan has established a two-year cycle of student learning assessment. Two or three of the five General Education core skills are assessed each year, thus all core skills will be assessed at least once by the end of two years. The University Assessment Plan aligns the graduate process with a three-year assessment cycle. Two or three of the five graduate Mission-Critical competencies are assessed each year, so that all will be assessed once by the end of three years.


Student artifacts are drawn from the course management system (currently ANGEL) across disciplines, levels, and time. Once selected, the artifacts are stripped of identifiers, coded, and printed. Holistic rubrics, formulated or identified by the University Assessment Committee and approved by the Academic Leadership Team, are applied to the artifacts by faculty and staff volunteer readers in multiple blind review sessions. Conventional performance-based norming and scoring procedures are stringently followed to ensure acceptable levels of inter-rater agreement.

The Office of Assessment collects and organizes data resulting from these assessments, facilitates analysis processes, and creates action plans based on the results of evidence analysis with the colleges, the University Assessment Committee, and other targeted constituencies, and maintains records of both assessments and actions taken based on assessment data.  Now firmly implemented at GCU, the assessment process produces the capability of authentic and specific evidence of student learning across the University used for evidence-driven continuous improvement of student learning.


It is the Office of Assessment's goal that assessment be ongoing, intentional, thorough, and applicable so that it will have the most significant possible impact on improvement of student learning and university functions and processes. The processes of assessment and improvement of learning and institutional effectiveness are reflective of the mission, pillars, guiding principles, and foundational statements of Grand Canyon University. Even though the primary focus of assessment is measurement of the extent to which student learning outcomes are successfully met, all aspects of student experience deemed to be a priority will be measured and evaluated, where feasible. The ultimate goal of this effort is to improve student learning and the total university experience by enhancement of instructional effectiveness, removal of obstacles to learning, facilitation of student persistence toward completion of a degree or program, and demonstration of purposeful effort toward institutional effectiveness.