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Cultivating Institutional Excellence Through Assessment of Student Learning

Our mission is to improve student learning through academic program assessment, a collaborative process that includes faculty, students, staff, administrators, and others. Assessment involves establishing program learning outcomes, measuring/observing and documenting the extent to which outcomes are achieved, findings ways to improve, and implementing improvement plans.1 All programs connect student learning goals to the broader, institutional-level learning outcomes or competencies: Competence, Critical Thinking, Community, and Character (the 4 Cs).

Assessment at APU

All APU programs take part in the assessment of student learning through yearly data collection and reporting and a cyclical program review process. Effective assessment systems and strategies undergird a philosophy of continuous improvement and academic excellence in the APU learning community. The APU Assessment Resource Site provides information, tools, and best practices about student learning assessment at Azusa Pacific, assisting programs as they move forward with the development and implementation of student learning outcomes, assessment plans, and program improvement. While the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment is a support arm for all assessment and program review processes within the APU learning community, each school, department, and program area is responsible for taking ownership of assessment data collection and reporting.

APU is a member of the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), one of six regional associations that accredit public and private schools, colleges, and universities in the United States. Through its review processes, WSCUC confirms that an institution has substantially met the commission’s Core Commitments and Standards of Accreditation and associated Criteria for Review and, thus, possesses the resources, policies, and practices to achieve its education goals and has provided evidence of the quality of its education programs. Accredited institutions are also subject to the conditions established by the commission, including its policies.

Institutions elect to undergo accreditation review for several reasons besides assurance of quality and adherence to academic standards. Accreditation is necessary for participation in federal (Title IV) and state financial aid programs, is important for the acceptance and transfer of college credit, and is a prerequisite for many graduate programs. Generally, college credits or degrees received at a regionally accredited institution are accepted by other regionally accredited colleges or universities. Accreditation is reaffirmed through a comprehensive review process, at least once every 10 years, that includes an institutional self study, external review, and site visit. APU’s next comprehensive review will take place during the 2021-22 academic year.



  1. Language adapted from, and permission for use given by, the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa Assessment Office.