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Alaska Pacific University employs a range of assessment tools to assure and improve the quality of its programs. These include nationally bench-marked instruments as well as internal measures.

Collegiate Learning Assessment – CLA
The Collegiate Learning Assessment requires first-year students and seniors to analyze complex materials and prepare written responses. These are graded to assess their abilities to think critically, reason analytically, solve problems, and communicate clearly and cogently. The purpose is not to grade students individually but to measure the contribution of the institution, or value added, to the development of these competencies over the course of the students’ work at APU. Through national benchmarking, APU can use these results to examine its own practices in relation to student achievement. For further information about the CLA, see

National Survey of Student Engagement – NSSE
The National Survey of Student Engagement [NSSE] annually assesses the extent to which undergraduate students (first year and seniors) are involved in educational practices which have been linked through research to high levels of learning and development. Through benchmarking APU responses against those of other institution, the survey allows APU to talk more productively about student engagement and its importance to student learning, collegiate quality, and institutional improvements. It assesses levels of engagement in five areas:

  • Level of academic challenge
  • Active and collaborative learning
  • Student-faculty interactions
  • Enriching educational experiences
  • Supportive campus environment

For further information on NSSE, see

The American Freshman: National Norms – CIRP: Cooperative Institutional Research Program, American Council on Education
Incoming first year students are surveyed so that faculty and staff have information about APU students as a class in relation to their counterparts in other institutions. This provides additional data about the expectations and perceived needs of these students. For further information about the CIRP Survey, see

Noel-Levitz Student Satisfaction Survey
Each spring all APU students are surveyed regarding their satisfaction with their college experiences—academic and student life. These results are benchmarked against other institutions. For further information about Noel-Levitz SSS, see