Data & Results

Institutional UCSB & UC-wide Data

The UC Santa Barbara Office of Institutional Research, Planning, and Assessment provides extensive data about UC Santa Barbara students. Click to access the Institutional Research, Planning, and Assessment data home page (with links to additional information). You can also check out this data dashboard of UCSB's Retention and Graduation Rates and these summaries of various UCSB Student survey results.

The University of California Office of the President also provides extensive data about students across all UC campuses. Click for data on: Undergraduate Graduation Rates (select "Santa Barbara" in the "Campus" drop down menu), Undergraduate Alumni Graduate Degree Attainment, and the UC Undergraduate Experience Survey (UCUES) data tables (click on a year, then select "Santa Barbara" in the "Campus" drop down menu).

*note: All UC undergraduates have the opportunity to take UCUES every other spring. The survey is voluntary. Systemwide, 35-45% of students usually complete this survey.

Program Learning Outcomes Data - Core Competencies & GE

Program Learning Outcomes Data

Data on program-specific learning outcomes achievement come from faculty-driven research within those departments, coordinated and reviewed by UCSB's Council on Assessment. These continuous cycles of assessment focus on PLOs of current salience for the programs in question. All degree-granting programs, both graduate and undergraduate, complete a targeted PLO assessment every 3 years and submit a report to the CoA.

For example, Most departments who are beginning their assessments this year—for both graduate and undergraduate programs—are focusing on program outcomes that build on data and competencies explored in their prior assessments, or address current perceived needs in the program:

Economics (undergrad) is moving from macroeconomics to microeconomics foundations, while French and Italian (undergrad) are both transitioning from speaking to reading/writing outcomes. Chicana and Chicano Studies (undergrad) is collecting data related to prepare students more consistently for engaging in public speaking, while MCDB (undergrad) is working to support equitable student success in their pre-major courses by testing outcomes of different course combinations with students.

Philosophy (grad) is assessing a trio of professionally important competencies: producing written scholarship at a level comparable to those standards set by leading journals in the field, responding appropriately to critical recommendations for revision, and presenting the content of those papers at conferences. Economics (grad) is examining students' foundational knowledge in its three core areas—microeconomics, macroeconomics, and econometrics—while also collecting survey data regarding pedagogical question of whether the preliminary exams, as currently delivered, are educationally helpful to students.


Core Competencies emphasized in Current Undergraduate Assessments (2023-2026)

For all assessment projects, we emphasize heavily the importance of collecting data that will usefully inform changes and growth within departments' graduate and undergraduate programs. Programmatic changes informed by assessments in the 2020-2023 cycle included sharing assessment results with faculty and students, such as Mathematics creating a course outline document for its “Transition to Higher Mathematics” course, clarifying expectations and especially emphasizing the importance of proof-writing. Some programs have adjusted course assessments to emphasize areas which data have marked as educational priorities, such as Biology restructuring courses to include more formative assessments and 2-stage exams to lower pressure and increase learning opportunities. Still other departments are adjusting instruction itself, such as Italian which is transitioning grammar drills to independent work and reallocating that class time for in-person communication activities. And some departments are improving educational support for students, such as Linguistics, who is offering career and graduate school preparation documents, workshops, and speakers in their program. Read our 2022-2023 Year in Review for a full summary of how assessment has supported reflection and refinement in programs at UCSB.

2022-2023 Year in Review

Within undergraduate program assessment data, we pay specific attention to those WASC-defined core competencies of information literacy, oral and written communication, quantitative reasoning, and critical thinking. 

Core Competencies

The UCSB Assessment Research Group maintains ongoing data on departmental progress with PLO Assessment. During the 2022-2023 academic year, the Council on Assessment reviewed plans for 31 programs (from 20 departments), approving 16 and requiring revisions for 15.

Most undergraduate assessments in the latest cycle (2020-2023) emphasized the core competency information literacy, followed reletively evenly by Critical Thinking, Oral and Written Communication. Graduate assessments focused mainly on research writing and pedagogy, with other programs collecting evidence around areas of specific subject-matter expertise and professionalism. 

Learning Outcomes emphasized in Current Graduate Assessments (2023-2026)

Most plans in the upcoming cycle (2023-2026) will focus on learning outcomes related to critical thinking (36%) with a moderate emphasis also on information literacy and written communication (21% each). In graduate plans for this cycle empirical research methods are now a top area of focus, alongside scholarly communication, with understanding of core knowledge areas and pedagocical skills as the focus of most other plans. In January 2025, we will begin Cycle 4 of our campus-wide PLO Assessments. Click below for a summary of the most recent assessment projects.

Core Competencies

General Education

2020-2021 marked the fourth year of our longitudinal GE assessment, which has followed ~120 students/year through courses in the GE program to learn how well students find specific GE courses help them achieve the outcomes of that GE area, how well faculty find students are achieving these GE outcomes, and how well faculty and student assessments of student GE performance overlap. 

During the course of the study, 401 students submitted and rated artifacts from GE courses; 198 of these students participated for multiple years. A workshop for faculty in Fall 2019 shared important data results, e.g., that students in GE courses indicated learning less about kinds of methods and communication used (i.e., “knowing how”) than about the kinds of questions asked and topics studied (i.e., “knowing that”). 

A workshop for students in Spring 2020 invited student perspectives on these data, learning, e.g., that students greatly appreciated GE courses' opportunities for developing reading/writing skills across disciplinary boundaries and discussing topics with students outside of their majors, and would like more procedural guidance on how to read and write within different fields in future GE courses. Click below for a summary.

General Education Assessment

Read here the full General Education Assessment Report 2020, the Council on Assessment Annual Report 2020 - 2021, Council on Assessment Annual Report 2021-2022, or explore the links above for summaries and further information on General Education and Core Competencies.

Student Affairs Data

The Division of Student Affairs annual report, compiled by its assessment team (SAAT), brings together the assessment efforts and findings of its various departments within Student Academic Support, Student Life, Student Wellness, Enrollment Services, Office of the Vice Chancellor, Student Governments and Publications. Annual reports going back to 2014, as well as their Community of Practice (COP) resources are included on the Student Affairs Assessment Initiative website.