What is assessment?
Assessment is the ongoing process of establishing clear, measureable expected outcomes of student learning, ensuring that students have sufficient opportunities to achieve those outcomes, gathering, analyzing and interpreting evidence to determine how well student learning matches our expectations, and using the resulting information to understand and improve student learning.
Assessment can help answer:
- Are our students learning what we think is important?
- Are our students learning what they need to succeed in their future endeavors?
- Do recent innovations, such as online online learning or learning communities, help students learn more effectively?
- Should this this program be expanded, maintained, cut back, or eliminated?
Why do assessment?
Assessment reinforces the mission of our institution, colleges, departments, and programs, ensures that institutional and program level goals are understood by the public, students, faculty, and staff, allows us to evaluate, modify, and promote the continuous improvement in teaching and student learning, and assists our institution and programs in meeting federal, state, and regional accreditation and accountability expectations and requirements.
Voluntary System of Accountability
The VSA is a voluntary initiative for four-year public colleges and universities. Developed through a partnership between the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AACU) and the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges (NASULGC)
The VSA is designed to help meet the following objectives:
- Demonstrate accountability and stewardship to public
- Measure educational outcomes to identify effective educational practices
- Assemble information that is accessible, understandable, and comparable
Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education
As part of the VALUE project, AAC&U staff, in conjunction with teams of faculty and other academic professionals, are gathering, analyzing, synthesizing, and drafting rubrics for fifteen of the AAC&U Essential Learning Outcomes in order to create "metarubrics."
Each metarubrics contains the criteria most often found in the many campus rubrics collected and represents a carefully considered summary of criteria widely considered critical to judging the quality of student work in that outcome area.