Standards & Assessments


Academic Standards

A student's primary duty is to meet all academic requirements to the best of her or his ability and to participate actively in scheduled classes. Students must complete all individual and group academic assignments and are expected to accomplish required readings, study, or research in advance of classes as specified in course directives, syllabi, or as assigned by a faculty member.

Instruction is presented at the graduate level. Students will be questioned on issues and challenged to defend their positions. They are expected to conform to basic rules of courtesy and etiquette at all times; however, special attention to this requirement is expected during guest lectures and seminar discussions. Written work must be of graduate-level quality in substance and form. In general, papers will stress analysis and synthesis, rather than description or opinion. Papers are expected to be concise, complete, logically organized, and, where appropriate, contain a clear and well-supported thesis. Individual knowledge and views should be presented and supported. While students are encouraged to exchange views and solicit advice and opinions from others, written work must represent individual analyses and conclusions.

Assessment Policies

Faculty Advising and Feedback


Performance feedback is detailed, personalized, and confidential. Informal oral feedback on time-sensitive information will be provided on a regular basis. Continuous dialogue between students and faculty fosters rapport and mutual respect. Faculty instructors meet with students during core or elective courses for both formal and informal feedback sessions if academic progress appears to be below acceptable standards. Additional formal feedback sessions between students and their faculty advisers occur within the first 60 days of school, prior to winter recess, prior to spring recess, and during the last 30 days of school. These sessions provide an opportunity for students to review their goals and objectives and academic progress to date. Faculty advisers discuss Course Evaluation Reports (CERs) provided by other faculty members to assist in assessing students' strengths and weaknesses. These reports, completed at the end of each course, are an essential element in the feedback process. CERs augment the faculty adviser's observations, and provide the basis for counseling and guidance.

DEP Faculty instructors submit written assessments on all course requirements and final evaluations. These evaluations include comments on individual papers and contributions to exercises and discussions. A formal written course evaluation is available to the student at the conclusion of each course. Additionally, faculty gives individual feedback concerning academic progress during the resident courses at Carlisle Barracks that concentrates on the individual's performance. Faculty advisement for students with writing 17 and academic concerns is also available. At any time, a student can contact a course author, faculty instructor, or staff member for advice.

The USAWC student is assessed against delineated standards. Faculty formally assess and record student learning against course-specific learning objectives. USAWC evaluation philosophy focuses on individual attainment of learning objectives, not on comparison among students. The USAWC uses the following evaluation system:

  • Outstanding (5)
  • Exceeds standards (4)
  • Meets standards (3)
  • Incomplete (2)
  • Fails to meet standards (1)

As a general rule, students must meet or exceed the standards for every assessed requirement to graduate. If a student receives an overall grade of 'incomplete' for a course evaluation, the student will be put on probation and required to revise and improve the course work. Students are expected to adhere to: (1) the nature of the material and the learning objectives for the course; and (2) standard practices in graduate education.

Details of the evaluation and assessment system, philosophy, and methodology may be found in Carlisle Barracks Memorandum 623-1.