Skip to Main Content
Office of Institutional Effectiveness

Certificate Program Assessment

At UNF, certificate programs report student learning outcomes through Academic Learning Compacts (ALCs) and Graduate Academic Learning Compacts (GALCs) using the same approach as undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Certificate versions differ, however, from degree ALCs/GALCs in significant ways:

Certificate programs articulate student learning outcomes that align with the required coursework in the certificate, including those which may be required by professional accrediting bodies or for professional licensure. However, there are no prescribed categories (e.g., critical thinking, independent research/practice) for these outcomes as there are with undergraduate and graduate degree programs.
Certificate versions should be constructed to reflect qualitative differences from undergraduate and graduate programs. For example, subject matter, depth of inquiry, and mode of instruction in a graduate-level certificate program will always differ in complexity from similar elements in an undergraduate certificate program. 
By design, certificate programs usually consist of coursework focused on training for a specific career or specialized content area and can typically be completed in less than 2 years. As such, there may be fluctuations in demand, enrollment, and completion in certificate programs.

Certificate programs with small enrollments may experience challenges in conducting valid assessments of student learning. For example, it is difficult to generalize small amounts of data, and it can be cost-prohibitive to conduct elaborate assessments that benefit very few students. To address this concern, OIE follows a methodology for identifying small-enrollment certificate programs and for determining eligibility of certificate programs in the ALC/GALC annual process:

Using Office of Institutional Research data from the 3-most recent Fall terms, OIE determines the 3-year average enrollment/completions for each certificate program. Certificate programs with fewer than 10 students enrolled/completed, on average, across the 3-year assessment period are considered small enrollment and are considered exempt from completing the steps in the assessment cycle for that given year. Certificate programs with 10 or more students enrolled/completed, on average, across the 3-year assessment period, are required to participate in the assessment cycle for that given year.

Programs meeting ALC/GALC eligibility criteria are published on the OIE website under the respective Undergraduate ALC or Graduate GALC page. The directory search provides the easiest way to locate certificate ALCs and GALCs:

For information on the development of a new certificate programs, see the Credit Bearing Certificate Programs page.