The Continuous Improvement Spiral

Supporting continuous improvement to promote student learning and success.

At UB, we conceptualize assessment and continuous improvement as a spiral. Over several rounds of assessment, aspects of the program or service needing improvement are refined. After several rounds of assessment, the outcomes of the program or service are being achieved as expected and very few changes will need to be made.

With each new cycle of assessment the effectiveness of the process is refined. The discrete steps of assessment that lead to continuous improvement include the following:

  1. Plan: Identify goals, objectives and learning outcomes; map these outcomes to courses and other learning experiences; determine how learning will be measured; design and deliver courses and programs.
  2. Collect: Determine the timeline for collecting data on learning outcome achievement; collect, compile and interpret the data; share results with key stakeholders. 
  3. Reflect: Review the results to determine whether students are achieving learning outcomes to the desired level. In light of these results, consider program strengths and areas for improvement.
  4. Improve: Plan and implement necessary improvements (e.g., course delivery, sequencing, etc.). The effectiveness of these changes will be addressed in a future assessment cycle.