Assessment FAQ

Why aren't course grades enough?

  • Grades provide a judgment of quality of a student’s ability at one point in time
  • Assessment provides additional, more comprehensive information and feedback to students to help them learn
  • Assessment provides the tools to continue to learn beyond the classroom
  • Assessment methods provide information to teachers about what students are learning
  • Assessment methods provide explicit criteria and expectations to students before grading occurs
  • Assessment methods provide explicit criteria to students so that teachers will never get this question from students again: “Why did I get this grade?”
  • Assessment focuses the student and teacher on learning rather than the “grade”

Why do we want or need evidence of student achievement of learning outcomes?

  • to improve student learning
  • to know where to invest our resources
  • to plan for improvement
  • to know what we need to change
  • to provide accountability to external constituents
  • to empower students to manage their learning
  • to improve institutional effectiveness
  • to become intentional about what we are doing

How are we going to get this evidence?

  • Plan for data collection
  • Intentional collection and use of assessment data as opposed to haphazard methods
  • Internal assessment – performing formative and summative assessment for learning outcomes (course outcomes, program outcomes and core abilities)

What are we going to do with it?

  • Apply it for continuous improvement; collect data only if we know how we will use it
  • Change practice or continue successful practices
  • Tell students how they’re doing
  • Show faculty and staff how we’re doing
  • Continuous improvement of measures
  • Replicate and share best practices
  • Relate it to other Institutional Effectiveness measures
  • Report data for national accreditation via Academic Quality Improvement Project (AQIP)

For more information, contact Robin Nickel in CETL at (608) 246-6413.