DSO Assessment Framework

Definition of Assessment

Any effort to gather, analyze, and interpret evidence which describes institutional, divisional, or departmental effectiveness (Upcraft & Schuh, 1996, p. 18).


The fourteen units within the Dean of Students Office at Iowa State University utlize a three level framework to structure our assessment activities.

Level One: Descriptive - All DSO units will gather and report seven standards metrics that describe the size, scale, and scope of programs and services.  Data is collected in each unit in an on-going, systematic process; and submitted centrally each year in July.

Level Two: Formative - All DSO units establish programmatic and student learning outcomes that demonstrate effectiveness in meeting strategic plans and objectives.  Student learning outcomes align with the DSO Purposeful Learning Domains and Student Affairs divisional strategic priorities.

Level Three: Summative - All DSO units will periodically review their programs and services based on the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education.

Link to DSO Assessment Framework PDF Document


Unit Director – Develop and implement an assessment plan consistent with DSO Mission and this framework.

DSO Assessment Committee – Utilize a “coaching model” to share subject matter expertise with departmental assessment practitioners.


DSO Assessment Glossary

DSO Purposeful Learning Domains

Student Affairs Strategic Plan

University Strategic Plan