Institutional Effectiveness Reports

Institutional effectiveness reports are submitted near the end of the fiscal year. The assessment report provides the results of the unit’s assessment activities during the year and for 8.2.c the ways the results are being used to improve the programs, services or operations of the unit.

The institutional effectiveness report including all appendices must be submitted in one PDF document. The Office of the President will provide assistance in preparing a single PDF document, if needed.

In their institutional effectiveness reports, units provide what they learned by conducting assessment activities and how they have or will use this information for improvement. Specifically, units are expected to provide a summary of the results of their assessment activities and to analyze and draw conclusions from these results.  For 8.2.c units must outline specific ways the results will be used for improvement, to specify modifications that are being made based on these results and the intended outcome of these modifications. For planning purposes it may be helpful to provide any budget or resource implications for the modification.  The results of the modification must be reported in the next year's institutional assessment report.

A template pre-populated with a unit’s assessment plan is provided for the assessment report. For the institutional effectiveness report, a unit simply adds one or two columns to its assessment plan:

Assessment Results &
Analysis of Assessment Data Collected

What data did you collect?
What did you learn from analyzing it? 
What conclusions did you draw?

Use of Results to Improve Program
(Modifications Made)
8.2.c only

What have you done or are you going to do differently based on what you found? 
What do you expect to change? 
How/when will you know if the modification was effective?
What was the result of the modification?


Consequently, an institutional effectiveness report can only be as good as the institutional effectiveness plan on which it is built. “Closing the loop,” by showing how the assessment results were used for improvement and the effect of that modification, is a critical component of the institutional effectiveness report. Remember, an annual cycle is only one ring of a spiral of continuous improvement.

Data Presentation

In the institutional effectiveness report, provide a summary or highlights of the data collected. Provide the complete results in the appendices in a format that facilitates its use. Be sure to indicate in the report where in the appendices the supporting data may be found. Graphs, tables and charts may be helpful in presenting results.

Data Analysis and Interpretation

Clearly state whether the program objectives (intended outcomes) were achieved at the established performance level.

In analyzing the data, consider questions such as:

  • Are there patterns in the data?
  • Were the targets met?
  • Are the results of sufficient quantity?
  • Could the results be improved?

To interpret or make meaning of the data, consider how the results apply to the intended outcome (the objective). Draw conclusions from the data.

  • What was the significance of the data for the program or service?
  • Why was the target met or not met?
  • What impact do these results have on the unit?
  • How can this information be used to improve the unit’s program or service? (8.2.c only)

Improvement Plan (8.2.c only)

The results of the assessment should be used to develop an action plan to improve the program or service provided. What change or modification can be made to positively impact the outcome? Changes do not have to be extreme or on a large scale. Changes may reflect changes to the program or service or changes to processes. Changes must be tied to the assessment results.

If changes have already been implemented, what was the outcome? If changes will be implemented in the following year, be sure to include this objective in next year’s institutional effectiveness plan.

Tips for Completing Institutional Effectiveness Reports

Some helpful tips for completing assessment reports:

  • Take time to complete a realistic and measurable assessment plan.
  • Follow your plan and collect data throughout the year. Assessment cannot be conducted as you write your report.
  • Answer the “thought questions” provided on the template. These questions have been designed to help you think through the assessment process—they will guide you.
  • Be specific, e.g., what assessment data did you collect? Provide the data in the appendices in a format that is easily understandable and clearly linked to the objective.
  • Summarize the data in the narrative section of the report and cite the location of the data in the appendices.
  • Show me, don’t tell me.” Ways of showing include providing frequencies, percentages and graphs.
  • If the data is qualitative (focus groups, interviews, open-ended questions), count positive versus negative responses or count the number of times a subject was mentioned or give a representative quote.
  • Don’t be afraid to admit that you didn't make your target, or to adjust it in the light of new information. Institutional effectiveness is about continuous improvement.
  • Write clearly and concisely. Do not provide extraneous information. Do not use jargon or professional terms that someone outside your area of expertise will not understand.
  • As you write your report begin to think about how your proposed modifications will inform your objectives for next year. Remember, assessment is a spiral and you are just completing one ring in the spiral.