Message from the Provost

Dear Friends of UMA,

At UMA, we recognize that assessment of learning should be an integrated, ongoing component of academic life and the student experience. Ongoing improvement is the ultimate goal of all assessment activities. Because of that focus, assessment is part of regular campus wide quality checks. We actively seek the involvement of all campus members in University planning, priority setting, and decision making. We appreciate all these contributions – and consider them invaluable in making UMA the best it can be.

Joseph Szakas, Ph.D.
Provost & Vice President of Academic Affairs

Defining Assessment

“Assessment is an ongoing process aimed at understanding and improving student learning. It involves making our expectations explicit and public; setting appropriate criteria and standards for learning quality; systematically gathering, analyzing, and interpreting evidence to determine how well performance matches those expectations and standards; and using the resulting information to document, explain, and improve performance.”

Angelo, T. (1995). Improving Classroom Assessment to Improve Learning”, Assessment Update, 7(6), 1-2, 13-14.

Course-level Assessment

In each course students are expected to fulfill the requirements stated in course syllabi. Student achievement of course objectives is assessed by exams, performances, oral presentations, public exhibitions, research projects and other written papers, and computer-based assessments. Results are used by program faculty to determine the extent to which students are achieving learning outcomes for the course. Likewise, students evaluate each course to give feedback to faculty and administrators.

Program-level Assessment

Academic Annual Report

Program coordinators and faculty in all 19 degree programs produce Academic Annual Reports. Each report encompasses a wide range of information including student enrollment, retention, and graduation, assessment activities, curriculum changes, personnel, facilities, and budgetary requests.

External Program Review

On a five-year cycle, each academic program develops a comprehensive self-study report and conducts an external program review. An external review team analyzes the report and meets with UMA faculty to assess the quality of student work and the relevance of curriculum to the mission of UMA and its student needs. Based on the recommendations by the external review team, academic programs make changes for continuous improvement.

Capstone Courses

All academic programs require students to take a capstone course, culminating experiences designed to integrate their various learning experiences in their major. Programs, like Mental Health and Human Services, require internships; others, like Art, Architecture and Music, require portfolio assessments and public presentations of student work. Professional programs include licensure exams or Major Field Tests as part of the capstone experience.

General Education Assessment

To educate students as a well-rounded citizen, UMA developed eleven categories of General Education requirements. Every graduate satisfies course requirements for Critical Thinking, Computer Literacy, Cultural Diversity, Fine Arts, Humanities, Information Literacy, Natural Scientific Inquiry, Oral Communication, Quantitative Skills, Social Science, and Written Information. Faculty groups work collaboratively to assess student achievement and improve pedagogy in these categories.


National Survey of Student Engagement

The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) asks students at hundreds of colleges and universities to reflect on the time they devote to various learning activities. The topics explored are linked to previous research on student success in college. Results from NSSE can provide students and the institution with insights into how students learn and develop at a given college. UMA schedules NSSE for first year students and seniors every three years during the Spring semester.

Graduating Senior Survey

The Office of Institutional Research and Planning conducts the survey when senior students graduate from UMA.

Alumni Career Survey

The Office of Enrollment Management conducts Six-month-out alumni survey.

Representative Professional Exams

The Praxis Exam

Students who seek to be certified in Elementary or Secondary Education must pass Praxis exams as required by the State of Maine.


Students majoring in Nursing take the National Council Licensure Examination to become certified as registered nurses at the end of their associate degree.

Major Field Tests (MFT)

Students in Business Administration may take the MFT in their capstone course to assess knowledge in accounting, economics, finance, law, management, marketing and quantitative analysis.


Hirosuke Honda, Ph.D. Director of Assessment, Provost Office

Nathaniel LaClaire, Assessment Associate, Provost Office