PEARL: Program Excellence through Assessment, Research and Learning

Prospective PEARL Participants

How have accreditation agencies responded to PEARL?

  • PEARL received a positive response from the self-study visitation team from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
  • PEARL also received positive reviews from assessment experts Virginia Lee and Peggy Maki during their visits to campus.

What is the timeline for the PEARL cycle?

  • The typical PEARL cycle requires program leaders to submit their PEARL plans in October. Assessment data is collected by the program during the fall and spring semesters and a summary of that assessment data and a description of how those data were used for program improvement is due in September of the following year.
  • The PEARL peer reviewers, using a set of shared criteria (the PEARL rubric), provide feedback to programs after submission of the PEARL plan and after the results and the use of results are reported. Customization of the PEARL cycle may be possible for specific needs.

What would it take to become involved?

  • Contact a PEARL steering committee member for more information.  

Can I see some examples?

  • Contact a steering committee member to arrange for a demonstration of the PEARL system and to see sample PEARL plans.

What about non-academic programs?

  • Several student affairs programs are exploring the use of PEARL. Other uses may be possible as well.

What does the research literature say about outcomes assessment?

  • The following resources were used in the development of PEARL:
    • Huba, M. E. & Freed, J. E. (2000). Learner-centered assessment on college campuses: Shifting the focus from teaching to learning. Heedham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon.
    • Maki, P. L. (2004). Assessing for learning: Building a sustainable commitment across the institution. Sterling, VA: Stylus.
    • Palomba, C. A. & Banta, T. W. (1999). Assessment essentials: Planning, implementing and improving assessment in higher education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  • Other resources are available from the University-wide Assessment website.