Assessment

Assessment is a key area for institutions of higher education. Accrediting bodies want to see that there is some thought and effort going into assessment projects, including the articulation of learning goals, ongoing programs of assessment, and explanations of how assessment results will be used to improve programs of study.

In the long term, the kinds of assessment that we are interested in seeing will be very specific to the needs of departments and programs and the development of courses. Assessment is a great opportunity to reevaluate the stated learning outcomes of each program, and it provides useful insight into areas of pedagogy and development that may not have been studied in such a way before.

Chairs, directors and administrators from universities across the country have been bewildered and blind-sided by the requirement for assessment. Temple University, fortunately, is not in that position. Here, within our own college, we have had assessment in operation for over a decade. We have staff and facilitators who have experience with assessment and the ways and means to carry it out. The purpose of this website is to ensure that we are all aware of the resources within our walls, and to make as much information available as possible.

Learning Objectives for Assessment

Each department and program in the College of Liberal Arts has learning objectives for students. These learning objectives are the basis for assessment as they are what we say we are teaching our students; we assess to see what success we are achieving with students in these specific areas.

Writing Your Assessment Plan

How do you design improvement projects? This useful guide can assist you in the process.

Frequently Asked Questions

Doesn’t assessment ask me to become an education researcher, conducting research in the classroom on how and why students learn?

If we define research as systematically making observations and collecting data, then assessment certainly may be looked at as classroom research, research that some faculty may want to pursue. However, the primary purpose of classroom-based assessment is to improve the teaching/learning process by identifying new ways to re-examine the courses you teach and to measure what works with students and what doesn’t.

Won’t classroom-based assessment add greatly to my workload?

Articulating course goals in measurable terms and developing assessment tools and data collection methods will be time-consuming at first. However, you may find that what originally seemed like a lot of unnecessary work may actually generate renewed interest in an old course and a recharged excitement about teaching. Once you’ve figured out how assessment fits into your teaching style and goals and have developed the tools you’ll need to implement it in your classroom, student evaluation may become easier and more efficient, freeing up more of your time.

Assessment activity is not established as part of the faculty reward system on campus. How can I benefit from assessment on a professional level?

Assessment activity is not yet an explicit part of the faculty reward system but is taking on more institutional importance. Assessment can also benefit you professionally by improving your teaching skills and facilitating your interactions with students, which are important to the faculty reward structure. In addition, many grant funding agencies now require strong assessment components to any projects designed to improve teaching and learning.

I’m convinced of the potential benefit of bringing assessment into my classroom, but I’m unclear where to start.

Once you’ve made the decision to do classroom-based assessment, the actual process is quite simple and focuses around identifying course goals and objectives, and developing assessment tools to evaluate how well you and your students meet those goals during the semester.

Reproduced from University of Massachussetts-Amherst’s (.pdf) “Course-Based Review and Assessment: Methods for Understanding Student Learning”

Online Resources

Assessment Resources from the Association of American Colleges and Universities  – AAC&U works with campuses to set clear goals, plan instruction and curricula to achieve the goals, assess student accomplishment, and revise and improve the whole learning/teaching cycle.

Internet Resources for Higher Education Outcomes Assessment  – A comprehensive database of policies and documents to illustrate assessment from the institutional to the course level

Ohio University Student Learning Objectives  – Have a look at how a similar university plans and implements their learning objectives.