AAS Proficiencies

The mission of the University of Wisconsin Colleges includes preparing students for success at the baccalaureate level by providing the first two years of a liberal arts general education. An important element of fulfilling this mission is meaningful institution-wide assessment of student learning. The goal of the UW Colleges' assessment program is to enhance the quality and effectiveness of the curriculum, programs, and services of the institution. This program includes measuring curricular and co-curricular experiences and activities that nurture students' intellectual development. The Office of Academic Affairs and the Senate Assessment Committee, along with committees at each campus and in every department, have brought together faculty, professional and instructional academic staff, students and administrators to develop and implement assessment measures.

University-wide Assessment of General Education Skills

Carrying out this mission, the UW Colleges commits to developing in students a set of proficiencies that prepares them for baccalaureate and professional programs, for lifelong learning, and for leadership, service, and responsible citizenship. To provide students with the skills for success in these roles, the UW Colleges regards the following areas of proficiency to be of primary importance in the education of our students: Analytical Skills, Quantitative Skills, Communication Skills, and Aesthetic Skills. To assess student learning in these four areas, instructors measure student proficiency using common standards applied across the academic disciplines. The accumulated results are then used as the basis for implementing changes in teaching and curriculum.

In addition to the assessment of institution-wide proficiencies, each academic department within the UW Colleges assesses discipline-specific proficiencies. When assessing student mastery of these discipline-specific proficiencies, instructors use common standards developed within each department. The results from these assessment activities are used to improve student learning and teaching within the department.

For each of the four areas of proficiency identified above, we establish expectations for satisfactory performance and communicate those expectations to our students. Then we gather evidence on performance indicators for curricular experiences and activities and interpret the data collected. Our specific areas of proficiency and their performance indicators are as follows.

Analytical Skills

Students must be able to:

  • interpret and synthesize information and ideas;
  • analyze and evaluate arguments;
  • construct hypotheses and support arguments;
  • select and apply scientific and other appropriate methodologies;
  • integrate knowledge and experience to arrive at creative solutions; and
  • gather and assess information from printed sources, electronic sources, and observation.

Quantitative Skills

Students must be able to:

  • solve quantitative and mathematical problems;
  • interpret graphs, tables, and diagrams; and
  • use statistics appropriately and accurately.

Communication Skills

Students must be able to:

  • read, observe, and listen with comprehension and critical perception;
  • communicate clearly, precisely, and in a well-organized manner;
  • demonstrate a large and varied vocabulary;
  • recognize and use a variety of communication forms and styles; and
  • use computer technologies for communication.

Aesthetic Skills

Students must be able to:

  • engage with and critically reflect on a work of creative expression; and
  • discuss their engagement with and critical reflection on a work of creative expression.