Frequently Asked Questions
What is Assessment?
- "Assessment is any effort to gather, analyze, and interpret evidence which describes institutional, departmental, divisional or agency effectiveness" (Upcraft and Schuh, p. 18).
- Assessment attempts to answer certain questions about a programs intended outcomes:
- What are we trying to do and why are we doing it?
- What do we expect the student to know or to do as a result of our program?
- How well are we doing it?
- How do we know?
- How do we use the information to improve?
- Does that work?
What are learning outcomes?
- Student learning outcomes encompass a wide range of student attributes and abilities, both cognitive and affective, which measure how students' college experiences have supported their personal or academic development
How do I know what to assess and how to assess it?
- Assessment should be linked to a department's mission and vision statements and should attempt to answer questions that are currently facing the department (see question 1). There are many ways to assess programs and services - each has its own pros and cons - so it is important that you match the right assessment technique with what you are hoping to answer. Here is a list of techniques people use to assess:
- Self-report survey
- Interview based on criteria (rubric)
- Observations based on criteria (rubric)
- Standardized assessment instruments
- Student portfolios
- Peer evaluation
- Self evaluation
- Document review
Why do I need to assess my program or service?
- To understand if students are learning from your programs and services overall
- To implement some tenets from the Strategic Initiatives in your programs and services
- To inform additional stakeholders about your programs and services
- To utilize resources (i.e. time, money and people) effectively
Who is responsible for implementing our assessment plan?
- Each of us are responsible for implementing our own departmental assessment plans. It is critical that we all work together in unison.
How long does an assessment planning process take?
- Every plan is different - must be catered to the individual program or department
What is the purpose of assessment in relation to the Division of Student Affairs?
- It relates to our Division of Student Affairs strategic plan and the ULV strategic plan...
How does my assessment plug into ULV's mission statement and values?
- It is directly tied to the values of the institution - who we are and why exist
Where do I find information and resources to help me develop an assessment plan
- This site - contact our staff -
What type of documentation is my department/program expected to produce?
- In many ways, assessment simply formalizes activities that often go on informally outside the classroom. It is important to make assessment an explicit part of department culture and to document our efforts. Each program is expected to have a mission statement, a set of goals and a list of Student Learning Outcomes. Departments/programs should be assessing one or more learning outcomes each year and discussing the results of assessment to improve student learning in the program. This is an iterative process and it is never really finished.