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College of Humanities & Social Sciences

Assessment

What is Assessment?

One useful definition for learning outcomes assessment is “the systematic collection of information about student learning, using the time, knowledge, expertise and resources available, in order to inform decisions that affect student learning.”  

The Assessment Process

There are 3 basic steps in the assessment process: 

  1. Setting goals; this entails defining a set of learning outcomes that you wish to assess;
  2. Gathering information (also called “measures” or “evidence”); this includes data collection and analysis to assess if students are learning what you intend them to learn; and
  3. Taking action; this means using the information gathered to improve student learning.  This is called “closing the loop” in assessment parlance. 

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Barbara E. Walvoord, Assessment, Clear and Simple:  A Practical Guide for Institutions, Departments, and General Education 2nd Edition (Jossey-Bass, 2010), 2.