PEARL: Program Excellence through Assessment, Research and Learning

PEARL Deadlines & Instructions

Entering your PEARL plan:

Go to

PEARL login


If you already have an account in PEARL, log in on the left side of the screen using your Blackboard username and password.


When you have logged in successfully you will see the opening "main" screen for PEARL.

(NOTE: If you do not have an account, contact your college's PEARL representative or a PEARL administrator with your program affiliation and the role you will have in PEARL (Program Leader, Peer Reviewer, etc.), and you will be added to the system.)



The resources section includes tools and links that will help you as you put your PEARL plan together. These include, "Best Practices University Wide," which identifies exemplars from other programs, "Research Instruments and Evaluation Forms," which lists rubrics, surveys, and other assessment instruments shared by other programs, and the PEARL Guidebook. The current Assessment Rubric for peer review and other resources can be found by clicking on "Additional Resources."


Scroll down below the resources section and find the name of your program and this year's timeline. The timeline below is an example from the 2009-2010 academic year with the first step or phase ("programs input plan") highlighted.



Click on the highlighted box to open the "program plan page").
(NOTE: If this is not the first PEARL assessment cycle in which your program has participated, there will already be content in the plan template. This can be kept, deleted, or edited.


plan header



The yellow box (shown on the right) gives you some instructions on what should be done during this phase.
(NOTE: Do NOT click on "Finalize Changes and Lock this Step" until you are completely finished with this PEARL phase. If you do this by mistake, contact a member of the PEARL Steering Committee to return the plan to the previous step.)



Add department & program mission

The first step is to add your department and program mission to the PEARL "cover page."

A. Click on the button that reads, "Edit" next to the text "General Plan Information" (see figure on the right).


cover page




B. Scroll down until you see the blanks for the department mission and program mission. You may type the missions directly in these boxes, or copy and paste from a text document.
(NOTE: You may also enter information into the other boxes provided if it is appropriate for your program (not all programs / departments have items to post in these additional boxes).

C. The "Save changes" button will save your work as you update the cover page. The "Cancel" button will NOT save your work.
(NOTE: You are not able to change the mission of the university or the colleges as these statements have been entered by the system.)

D. When you are happy with the changes you made, click on "Save changes" (if you don't want to save the changes, click "cancel"). You will return to the program plan page and your changes to the cover page will be visible.



Return to Top

Add assessment activities (outcomes)

add outcome

Next you will add assessment activities (or outcomes) to your plan.

A. On the program plan page click on the button in the yellow box that reads, "Add New Assessment Activity" (see figure on the right).

add outcome

B. You will need to select the type of activity you would like to add. At this time, PEARL is working only with student learning outcomes, so you should note that this type is already selected, and click "add" (shown in the example above).



A new assessment activity template will open:

outcome template

C. As before, "Save changes" will save your work on this page. "Cancel" will take you back to the program plan page without saving. You may type or copy and paste your plan components into the appropriate boxes (there are four components to the PEARL template. The first three are shown on the left.)

Outcome: Consider...
...what students should know. When students complete your program, what will they know and/or understand, and what will they be able to do with the knowledge or understanding?
...the rationale. Why is this outcome important for graduates of your program?
...your department's mission and goals. Does this outcome align with them?
...what can be observed. Can students' learning be reasonably observed and measured?

Opportunities to Learn: Consider... students have multiple and diverse opportunities (that build upon each other) to gain the knowledge, skills, and abilities described in the outcome? What are they? students have multiple and diverse opportunities to receive feedback and reflect on their courses and experiences?

Question of Interest: Consider...
...what question is being answered by this assessment activity and process? will answering (assessing) this question contribute to your program's improvement?

Assessment Method: Consider...
...what evidence will be gathered (e.g. existing course assessments), and from whom and how will it be gathered? will the gathered evidence be documented and summarized across students so the program can reflect on it? the plan for sampling participants and/or participant products appropriate?
...does the assessment method provide a thorough representation of student learning for the question being asked?


D. Once you are finished, click "save changes." You will return to the assessment plan page. Repeat the previous steps until you have added all of your outcomes.


Attach supplemental files to your PEARL plan

  • If you have additional information to attach to your plan and/or results (such as graphs, charts, etc.), start by saving the graph, chart, table, etc. to a .pdf, .doc, or .xls file on your computer.
  • In PEARL, click on the "add supplemental" button at the bottom of the plan.
  • Select the instrument type from the drop down menu (e.g. learning rubric, alumni survey, data summary, etc.)
  • Name your file
  • Browse and locate the file on your computer
  • Click on "upload!"
    (Note: Do not include information in these attachments that will identify individual students.)

Return to Top