University Assessment System


The university assessment system uses many terms defined in the glossary below.


Click to download the full glossary: 

ORU University Assessment System Glossary

Browse the most common terms below:

Rubrics contain an achievement level description for each criterion. ORU rubrics normally have 5 achievement levels: Level 4, Level 3, Level 2, Level 1 and Level 0. 

Alignment is necessary for proper assessment of the learning outcomes. The language and intention of the learning outcomes must inform student instruction, student work, and faculty assessment. Courses are aligned using a curriculum map to provide the skills and knowledge in a proper scope and sequence to fulfill the program outcomes. Key program assessments are aligned to measure mastery of the University, professional, and general education learning outcomes. 

Annual program improvement plans are used for continuous improvement of student learning, program review, and accreditation.

The report consists of: program faculty, professional advisory group details, a summary of "closing the loop" from last year's program improvement plan, a "closing the loop" detailed description, professional advisory group recommendations, key program assessment data, strengthening University outcomes, the new annual improvement plan, new program & teach-out, and appendices.

Student work that has been scored by faculty as a key program assessment. 

Assessment is the gathering and evaluation of qualitative and quantitative data for continuous improvement.

Key program assessments (KPAs) score student work to measure student mastery of the learning outcomes and contribute to broader program assessment. For example, the rubric criterion scores in KPAs can be used for both student grades in a course and data points for broader program assessment.

Program assessment takes into consideration many factors for wholistic program assessment. Some examples are: faculty observations, student feedback, faculty opinion surveys, alumni surveys, graduate surveys, external testing, advisory boards, NSSE results, economic trends, financial viability, graduation reports, enrollment trends, retention rates, etc. 

Assessment Coordinators represent each department/school and work closely with the Chair and the Director of the University Assessment System as a liaison between faculty and administration on any matter concerning the university assessment system. Assessment Coordinators bring the assessment perspective to department/school discussions and direction, help faculty implement continuous program improvement, and document the improvement process and results.

The name of the learning management system (LMS) that we use at ORU. It is operated by the company Desire to Learn (D2L). In 2015, the name of the LMS was officially changed from D2L to Brightspace.

Cocurricular activities and programs fall into the following two categories: 

Academic Cocurricular:
Course-embedded activities and assignments; examples may include internships, clinicals, competitions, forums, and service learning.

Optional Participation activities and assignments; examples may include student-engaged research, academic competitions, Study Abroad, and Global Crisis Simulation Training. 

Student Life Cocurricular:
Various departments in and of themselves, as well as their programs and activities, may be considered cocurricular; examples may include Athletics, Student Development, clubs and organizations, Missions, Community Outreach, and Spiritual Life.

Student experiences in cocurricular activities cultivate the development of Holy Spirit-empowered leaders through whole-person education to impact the world. 

Continuous improvement is a primary goal of the university assessment system. Qualitative and quantitative data provide direct and indirect measures of student learning that contribute to continuous improvement.

The university assessment system provides direct quantitative data using key program assessments.

In addition, faculty and administration use a variety of data sources for continuous improvement. Some of these include: professional opinion, anecdotal observations, faculty and student discussions, Senior exit surveys, student opinion surveys, alumni feedback, professional advisory groups, and other qualitative measures. Faculty and students may also seek God’s counsel through prayer and follow His leading in order to improve and accomplish the University mission.

Criteria are the “rulers” used to measure student attainment of program outcomes. Rubrics contain one or more criterion lines used to score student work. Each program outcome has several criteria that are used to measure the attainment of that program outcome. An individual criterion may be used in multiple key program assessment rubrics.

A table demonstrating where there’s alignment between two of the following: outcomes, courses, content, and assessments. For an example, please see the curriculum map below. The crosswalk is between the program outcomes and the program’s courses. It demonstrates to what level each program outcome will be instructed and assessed in each course. As a whole, it provides a quick overview to ensure the proper scope and sequence of a program’s curriculum and assessment.

A table presenting the extent that program outcomes are instructed and assessed in each course in the program.

·INTRODUCTORY- introduce learning goals (update or initial reflection)

·DEVELOPMENTAL- develop/emphasize learning goals (places of formative assessment)

·MASTERY- mastery/measure learning goals (assignments, capstones, places of summative assessment)

Desire2Learn (D2L), founded in 1999, is the name of the company that developed the Brightspace learning management system.

Extracurricular activities may not be directly aligned with the university mission and are not assessed in the university assessment system. Examples include: intramurals, non-mission student clubs, additional non-mission aligned activities, or any other non-selected cocurricular mission-aligned activities.

An in-depth seven-to-ten page report that is required by each academic program once every five years. An ORU Committee of “Peer Reviewers” is assigned to conduct the review.

The following data is provided to each program team to guide reporting and planning:

• Key program assessment data includes:

  1. ORU outcome scores (semester and annual)
  2. Professional outcome scores (semester and annual) 
  3. General education outcome scores (semester and annual)
  4. Artifact scores (semester and annual)
  5. Criterion scores grouped by artifact and overall (semester and annual)

• All annual program report data for the last five years

• Number of student majors (annual in fall semester)

• Graduation and placement rates (annual)

• Retention rates (annual)

• Credit hours generated (annual)


Programs review and report on the following areas:

• History of the program

• Overview and rationale for professional program

• Summary of actions taken in response to student learning data

• Review of the “professionally competent” program outcomes based on discipline-specific professional standards

• Projection of future required improvements

• Overview of faculty credentials and research and 

• Projected needs

• Financial viability

*The five-year program review template is under review | 2023

Oral Roberts University’s (ORU’s) general education curriculum consists of an essential core set of courses common to every program. Discipline-specific courses are scaffolded on these to fulfil the University’s mission to develop Spirit-empowered leaders through whole-person education to impact the world.

Our general education outcomes are based on the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) essential learning outcomes. The essential learning outcomes are designed to prepare students for twenty-first century challenges by gaining: 

· Knowledge of human cultures and the physical and natural world

· Intellectual and practical skills

· Personal and social responsibility

· Integrative and applied learning

ORU’s general education outcomes are:

1) Core Literacy: Demonstrate a breadth of knowledge essential to a Spirit-empowered, classical liberal arts education through effective communication.

2) Intercultural Knowledge & Engagement: Engage diverse cultures by integrating a Christian worldview with intercultural and historical knowledge.

3) Lifelong Wellness: Demonstrate knowledge and skills that promote healthy lifestyle choices to develop spiritual, mental, physical, and social wholeness.

4) Global Issues, Problem-Solving, Critical Thinking & Creativity: Demonstrate problem-solving using critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and ethical reasoning to address global issues.

The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) (founded in 1895) is one of six institutional accreditors recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. HLC accredits degree-granting post-secondary educational institutions in the United States.

Key program assessments (KPA) consist of the:

(1)  Assessment Instructions

(2)  Assessment Instrument

(3)  Directions for Scoring

Alignment in the KPA is evident when the language of the program outcome is used throughout the three parts of the assessment.

Alignment begins with instruction. The instructional components of curriculum content, instructional strategies, and use of technology, by both the faculty and students, enables students to showcase mastery of the learning outcome(s).

As defined by HLC: Education-specific results to measure the objectives or standards for the educational offerings. Examples could be results from licensure or standardized exams, course and program persistence, graduation rates and workforce data.

Learning outcomes are synonymous with program outcomes. Learning outcomes are the goals of a student’s academic education and are assessed using several qualitative and quantitative measures. Each student's program outcomes consists of University, professional, and general education learning outcomes.  

The greatest extent that a program outcome will be instructed and assessed in a program of study.

A group of professionals from outside ORU who may consist of academia, business, alumni, community partners, etc., who can advise on program planning. The PAG serves as a sounding board for continuous improvement and helps ensure the program's relevance in the community, state, national, and international settings. 

Program outcomes are the intended goals that a student will achieve by accomplishing the program. They may also be called standards, expectations, competencies or objectives. A student's program outcomes consist of a combination of ORU, professional, and general education outcomes.

The undergraduate Quest Whole Leader Scholarship Program has been established to identify and award students who are tireless on their quest to become whole leaders.

Scholarship recipients are committed to developing a healthy, character-driven lifestyle that sets the standard in society and enables them to thrive in life. There are two general categories for the amount of funding: (1) $15,000 or less and (2) greater than $15,000.

Rubrics enable faculty to clearly communicate their expectations for performance on an assignment. Students are scored on the level of performance for each criterion. The rubric provides an opportunity for (1) faculty to clearly describe and differentiate the various levels of achievement for each criterion, (2) students to clearly identify how to achieve excellence throughout the assignment, and (3) faculty to efficiently provide helpful student feedback for continuous improvement. 

The achievement scale communicates the extent to which a student has achieved the program outcomes. The levels are Exemplary, Proficient, Developing, Emerging, and Unacceptable.

SharePoint is an application provided by Microsoft to create internal websites for either training or communication. SharePoint hosts the University Continuous Improvement and Assessment website.

The University Assessment Committee is a group of faculty and staff who assist in guiding the direction, and implementing the decisions, of the university assessment system.

In 2021, the university outcomes were revised. The university outcomes are assessed in the general education courses, each program’s professional courses, and cocurricular activities. The five new outcomes are:

Spiritual Integrity: Students will learn to hear God’s voice by deepening their relationship with Jesus Christ and increasing their sensitivity to the Holy Spirit—for themselves and others. Students will pursue wholeness and integrity in their relationships with others and with God. Students will expand their biblical knowledge, approach life from a Spirit-empowered worldview, and learn to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Personal Resilience: Students will learn the skills needed for motivation and perseverance in addressing the complexities of life. Students will develop the knowledge, skills, and strategies required to adapt appropriately to changing environments. Students will honor God by embracing wellness through self-management and self-care, including physical exercise, good sleep patterns, and proper nutritional habits.

Intellectual Pursuit: Students will learn to develop problem-solving, critical thinking, and decision-making skills in preparation for professional careers. Students will demonstrate knowledge and an increased capacity for knowledge attainment and participate in identifying, analyzing, and creating solutions for the world’s most significant problems.

Global Engagement: Students will learn to model respect, responsibility, flexibility, adaptability, and sacrifice as they navigate the challenges and opportunities of a globalized world. Students will learn to use multiple strategies to develop culturally responsive relationships that support and encourage constructive change.

Bold Vision: Students will learn to recognize, develop, and communicate bold responses to today’s complex issues. Students will contemplate God’s purpose for their lives and God’s vision for their futures while also seeking to understand the world’s challenges and how these dynamics intersect. Students will learn practical, scalable objectives that assist in moving from vision to reality and be challenged to bring hope and transformation to the world.

Cocurricular activity points are calculated on 4.0 scale, which contributes toward the  student's Whole Leader Score. 

The Whole Person Leadership Record (WPLR) recognizes the achievement of cocurricular activities. The WPLR will be an official document similar to a student transcript. 

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