Frequently Asked Questions


What is the purpose of the Administrative Unit Planning and Evaluation (AUPE) reports at NOVA?

A: When units are effective, the College is effective. This leads to improvements in student success. Therefore, the Administrative Unit Annual Planning and Evaluation reports provide evidence of unit advancement and effectiveness. To further College effectiveness, units measure areas requiring improvement and develop outcomes that align with the NOVA’s strategic plan.

What is a Strategic Plan?

A: Strategic Plans identify areas the College wants to improve to advance its Mission. NOVA’s Strategic Plan follows five goals:

  1. Access
  2. Retention
  3. Completion
  4. Transfer
  5. Employment

Assessing Expected Outcomes

What is the difference between an Expected Learning Outcome and an Expected Operational Outcome?

A: Expected Learning Outcomes focus on the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and habits that students, faculty, and/or staff gain from a learning experience. Expected Operational Outcomes focus on how well the operational aspects of a unit are functioning.

Which units should have expected outcomes in place?

A: All units should have expected outcomes that should align with one or more of the five strategic plan goals.

How many outcomes should units assess each year?

A: All units should assess at least 1-3 outcomes.

How often should these outcomes be assessed?

A: Outcomes should be assessed annually but reported every three years based on the schedule.

The Evaluation Process

What is the difference between direct and indirect methods of evaluation?

A: Evaluation measures can be either direct or indirect. A direct measure (e.g., assignment/quiz, pre-test and post-test, email log) supplies tangible and visible evidence, while an indirect measure (e.g., satisfaction survey, comment cards, focus groups) provides data based on perceptions, reflections, and/or observations.

What if we do not break down data by semester? Can we do so by year instead of semester?

A: Yes, but be mindful that you must compare 3-5 years of data to determine trends or specific factors that have affected the outcomes over time. Make sure also that the time period you select is appropriate for future reviews.

Can we report for the fiscal year rather than the academic year?

A: Yes.

Writing the Report

Do we write separate reports for each Campus or one master/compiled report?

A: Campus units will submit a report for each campus; however, units will report on the same expected outcomes.

To what degree can a unit’s content be different across Campuses? Should they be the same?

A: Campus units’ reports may vary. Ideally, units should have similar expected outcomes, but they can have different measures and targets. Units should have similar outcomes and measures if they intend to make accurate and representative comparisons across Campuses.

If the acceptable threshold is not met, can we write “N/A”?

A: If the threshold is not met, please check “No” and explain why your unit’s target or threshold was not met.