At its most basic level, assessment is any attempt to gather information to improve the effectiveness of a course or program. It offers a way to demonstrate to stakeholders the extent to which a course or program achieves its desired outcomes.
To improve – Data gathered from assessment should be used to determine methods for improving the program or unit.
To inform – As a part of the process, information should be shared with key constituents to inform them about the contributions and impact of the program or unit.
To prove – Assessment should demonstrate what the program or unit is accomplishing to students, faculty, staff, and outsiders.
To support – The process of conducting assessment should provide support for campus decision making activities (e.g., strategic planning), as well as external accountability activities (e.g., Middle States Accreditation).
Fostering a culture of assessment helps universities and faculty confront a number of interests, innovations, and imperatives that are combining to prompt institutional, curricular, and pedagogical change.
These elements include:
Instituting a well-designed, sustainable culture of assessment across the university brings the following benefits:
Failure to establish a culture of systematic and sustained assessment of student learning presents the following consequences: