Why Assessment ?
Among the public’s many expectations of higher education, the most basic is that students will learn, and in particular that they will learn what they need to know to attain personal success and fulfill their public responsibilities in a global and diverse society.
Student learning is central to all higher education organizations; therefore, these organizations define educational quality—one of their core purposes—by how well they achieve their declared mission relative to student learning. A focus on achieved student learning is critical not only to a higher education organization’s
ability to promote and improve curricular and co-curricular learning experience and to provide evidence of the quality of educational experiences and programs, but also to fulfill the most basic public expectations and needs of higher education.
Six fundamental questions that define the role of assessment in affirming and improving student learning:
- How are your stated student learning outcomes appropriate to your mission, courses, programs, degrees and students?
- What evidence do you have that students achieve your stated learning outcomes?
- In what ways do you analyze and use evidence of student learning?
- How do you ensure shared responsibility for student learning and for assessment of student learning?
- How do you evaluate and improve the effectiveness of your efforts to assess and improve student learning?
- In what ways do you inform the public and other stakeholders about what and how well your students are learning?
Source: Commission Handbook, March 2007, The Higher Learning Commission