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Assessment of Student Learning

Assessing the Bradley University Core Experience

Bradley University is embarking on an exciting new project to assess student learning across the University. Assessing the Bradley University Core Experience focuses on Bradley’s commitment to educating men and women to become productive citizens. The Bradley Core Experience is defined by the common experiences of Bradley University students, encompassing general education coursework, major coursework, and co-curricular activities. The goal of this project is to develop and implement an assessment plan that will allow us to better understand what our students are learning throughout their Bradley University experiences.

Developing the Core Competencies

The first step in beginning to assess student learning is to define what it is that we’re going to assess. In doing this, the project team began reviewing documents that already exist at Bradley. We examined the 2004 General Education document, which outlines 5 overall goals for general education as a whole, in addition to learning outcomes for each course category included in the general education program. The team also reviewed the Bradley University mission statement and the results from the BUCCS 1 conversation: The Bradley Graduate of 2010. After reviewing each of these documents, the team drafted a list of core competencies to describe the learning that occurs at Bradley University. This information was presented to faculty and staff for feedback during the BUCCS 17 Conversation, Assessing the Bradley Core Experience. As a result of this conversation, the team refined the competencies to be assessed with a focus on Bradley’s commitment to professional development. The revised core competency document can be found here: competencies_232009.

In order to measure the core competencies, the team has drafted an assessment plan, which can be found here: bu-assessment-cycle_2202009.


Assessing the Bradley University Core Experience is aided by Bradley’s acceptance into The Higher Learning Commission’s Academy for Assessment of Student Learning in August 2008. The Assessment Academy is a 4-year commitment on behalf of Bradley University to focus on the assessment of student learning through a student learning project. Bradley was one of fifteen institutions accepted into the November 2008 Academy cohort. As the first step in academy participation, Bradley University sent a team of 4 faculty and staff to attend an assessment roundtable in November 2008. The team worked with Higher Learning Commission staff and Assessment Mentors from accredited institutions for 3 days to develop a student learning project, which will be the focus for the 4 year assessment academy commitment.

In preparation for the November 2008 Roundtable, the team was able to obtain input on the student learning project during BUCCS 14, Measuring Outcomes at the end of September 2008. The team was able to obtain feedback from faculty and staff on the Bradley University assessment priorities. As a result of this conversation, it became clear that an area of focus might be The Bradley Core Experience.

The goal of this project is to focus on student learning. We are not assessing individual faculty or teaching or departments or programs or even individual students. Our focus is on the learning that occurs in Bradley University students as a whole.