The term “assessment” may be defined in multiple ways by different individuals or institutions.
As indicated above, assessment is a process, not a result. It is an integral part of instruction, and it affects decisions about placement, instructional needs, curriculum, program utility, systems change, institutional improvements, recruitment, accountability, and in some cases funding. This page is meant to provide a brief background on assessment. Please visit OIEPA's Resources Page for more help in beginning or improving your assessment processes.
Why is Assessment Important?
Assessment and the information it generates are useful for a variety of reasons, most of which fall into four broad categories: teaching and learning; program improvement; recruitment; and accountability.
Assessing to Improve Teaching and Learning
It is crucial for helping people learn:
- Good assessment mirrors good instruction
- It is continuously part of the curriculum
- It provides information about the levels of understanding students are reaching
- Students acquire skills more rapidly when provided with timely and informative feedback
It helps faculty become better teachers:
- When it comes to assessment, the best college teachers begin with what students should be learning, rather than what the teacher will do.
- It is completed with systematic program based on primary learning objectives to assess both student and faculty efforts and abilities that lead to appropriate changes.
- Assessment is designed to look at deep learning, and at the intellectual and personal development of students, and great college teachers understand this
Assessing for Program Improvement
- Assessment helps program faculty identify areas of improvement for the program by showing them the actual impact the program has on students.
- It brings faculty together to discuss important issues regarding what they teach, how, why, and their standards and expectations.
- It helps link courses together to form coherent program structures, which helps faculty how what they teach contributes to student success throughout a program.
- Assessment results can be used as evidence of quality teaching and solid program design, which can improve recruitment and retention efforts.
Assessing to Improve/Increase Recruitment
- Good assessment provides parents, potential students, and other stakeholders with evidence of the value of a program or institution.
- Assessment can also be used to convince donors, employers, and/or legislators to invest time or money in your program or institution.
- Both qualitative and quantitative data can be used to increase or improve recruitment, as both provide valuable insight into student performance and attitudes.
Assessing for Accountability
- Assessment meets university annual program reporting and review requirements
- It addresses accrediting agency evaluation, reporting, and/or funding requirements
- It helps establish the legitimacy of the institution’s educational activities, faculty, and staff
- Good assessment results prove the cost effectiveness of a program or institution in the face of increased government, legislator, and other funding constraints