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Undergraduate Student Learning Outcomes 2021-2022


Annually, the faculty of each undergraduate major, standalone minor, and required General Education courses examine student achievement of at least one intended learning outcome for their degree program. Through this work, the faculty confirm students are developing the skills and knowledge expected of a graduate in their discipline. 

For the academic year 2021-22, this page provides a summary of

Links to the intended learning outcomes for each degree are available here. An overview of the annual assessment process is available here. Undergraduate retention and graduation rates are available here.  

Please address questions to Laura Martin.

Student Perceptions of their Learning

Across all majors, a large majority of seniors1 reported being highly or moderately proficient at the skills and knowledge expected of a graduate from their major or minor (Figure 1). These results are similar to those from past years (2013-142014-152015-162016-172017-182018-19, 2019-2020, and 2020-2021), indicating that disruptions due to remote instruction at the end of spring 2020 and in AY 2020-2021 did not lead to lower perceived levels of learning achievement among students.

These seniors also perceived growth in their knowledge and abilities while at UCM. Less than 4 of 10 reporting seniors (39%) who matriculated at UC Merced as freshmen recalled having high or moderate levels of proficiency in skills and knowledge particular to their major or minor at matriculation, and less than 5 of 10 reporting seniors (46%) who matriculated at UC Merced as transfer students recalled having high or moderate levels of proficiency in skills and knowledge particular to their major or minor at matriculation.

Results from the spring 2022 administration of the University of California Undergraduate Experience survey, which tracks students' perceptions of their growth2 in a core set of skills and knowledge expected of a bachelor’s degree recipient, is not yet available. This will be added to this site at a later date.

Faculty Perceptions of Student Learning

More than four in every five undergraduate programs (86%, n=14) were pleased with the skills and knowledge demonstrated by students in relation to the intended learning outcomes (Figure 3).3  This indicates that, on the whole, students were achieving program benchmarks or were otherwise meeting or exceeding the faculty's performance expectations.

In drawing these conclusions, faculty examined diverse types of student work. These included course embedded quizzes, homeworks, final projects, research papers, experimental lab reports, and capstone projects.

Seven percent of programs that conducted assessment (1, n=14) were unable to draw conclusions regarding student learning based on the available evidence, but made recommendations for improving on assessment methods in future years. One program was displeased with student learnig and identified an area they saw as a high priority to improve student learning. All reports identify strategies for improving student learning and/or assessment methods.

Three additional programs were engaged in assessment in 2021-2022, but are not included in the percentages above as their work was either not structured to determine students' achievement of a specific learning outcome at the time of graduation, or results will not be available until fall 2022.

Faculty Actions to Improve Student Learning

While the majority of programs (86%) were pleased with student performance, all responded to assessment results by identifying actions to support continued improvement in student learning. 

Example actions included adding lectures to existing courses, revising assignments, expanding class coverage of particular topics, clarifying expectations, providing checklists, scaffolding courses, increasing training working with secondary sources, and increasing the number of available faculty. 

Budget Implications of Actions to Improve Student Learning

Of those programs identifying actions to improve student learning, 29% identified changes that require resources in addition to time from existing faculty or staff. These resources include faculty lines and teaching assistants.

Faculty Commitment to Examing Student Learning in Majors, Minors, and General Education

UC Merced faculty demonstrated commitment to systematically examining the effectiveness of their degree programs in cultivating intended student learning.  In 2021-22,

  • 88% of majors,
  • and 67% of standalone minors 

submitted a report describing their efforts to assess student achievement of intended learning outcomes. No reports were submitted in 2021-22 for the general education program.

Student Achievement: Graduation and Retention Rates

For information on undergraduate retention and graduation rates, visit

1Data from the 2022 Graduating Senior Survey. Values are averages across all students. For each learning outcome for their major, graduating seniors rated themselves as highly proficient, moderately proficient, barely proficient, or not proficient for two time points: the time they took the survey (Today) and, retrospectively, when they started atUCM (When started at UCM).

Data from the Spring 2022 University of California Undergraduate Experience Survey (UCUES). This survey is administered once every two years. For each skill responding seniors rated their abilities as excellent, very good, good, fair or poor for two time points: as seniors and when they started UC Merced as freshmen. 

As represented in the annual learning outcome report submitted by each program, including major, standalone minor, and required General Education courses (n=14).  For each report, faculty conclusions regarding student learning outcomes were aligned to a Likert scale of very pleased, pleased, somewhat pleased, somewhat displeased, displeased, very displeased. In Figure 3 specifically, “Pleased” includes scores of very pleased, pleased, and somewhat pleased.