Student Experience and Outcomes

ASER draws on a student “pathways” assessment framework, where we consider the variety of students’ experiences from entrance to graduation and beyond and look at how these experiences shape student outcomes. This holistic approach focuses on the quality of these experiences at various stages of students’ journeys through UMass Amherst and on students’ learning, development, and success while at UMass Amherst and post-graduation. We use both quantitative and qualitative measures to shed light on the effectiveness of university offerings and on student achievements.

The University monitors student learning outcomes using both direct and indirect measures, including participation in two national studies that provide us with external student learning outcomes benchmarks. These include our almost two decade long participation in the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), which offers comparisons of our students’ self-reported learning gains with those of students at other Research Universities.

More recently, we began participation in a groundbreaking national direct student learning assessment project that draws from samples of actual student coursework, scored by college and university faculty from across the country, to document student performance on Critical Thinking, Written Communication, and Quantitative Literacy. The results of these studies indicate that UMass Amherst seniors perform at or above the levels of seniors at other colleges and universities.

The First-Year: Entering First Year Student Survey, First-Year Seminars, Learning Communities, First-Year Experience

Undergraduate Experiences and Progress: Advising, NSSE, High-Impact Practices 

Graduate Student Experiences: Doctoral and Master's Student Surveys

Outcomes (At or Before Graduation): Learning Outcomes, Graduating Senior Survey, Retention

Post-Graduation Outcomes: Alumni Survey and Career Tracking