Using Professional Competencies to Assess Learning in Student Affairs Graduate Programs

Document Type


SoTL Category

Student Considerations

SoTL Discipline


Publication Date



The purpose of this research project was to develop and pilot a process to assess learning in student affairs graduate programs. Using the ACPA/NASPA Competency Areas for Student Affairs Practitioners (2010), our research team created an assessment instrument to identify levels of competency reported by students entering a graduate program in student affairs, midway through the program, and at the end of their program. This research was made possible thanks to a grant provided by the NASPA Assessment, Evaluation, and Research Knowledge Community. This article introduces our student affairs graduate program and the professional competencies, briefly reviews previous research, explains the assessment instrument and process, discusses findings, and shares our plans for continuing this research on other campuses. This study contributes to the existing research on graduate students’ learning and provides evidence to support curriculum revision and enhancement of other learning experiences that student affairs master’s degree students need for success in professional practice, using the ACPA/NASPA competencies as a model.


This article was published in Progressive Measures. Vol. 10, Issue 1. (2014).