Assessment is the process of gathering and interpreting information about student learning. It is evidence that provides an outward sign of “proof.” It may be one of many variables contributing toward success. The real question is not whether we are doing a good job teaching but are we systematically reviewing, documenting and assessing the relevant evidence? It gives us the power to toot our own horns over the success of our courses or programs. It provides an ongoing process to continually improve teaching and learning effectiveness.
Why do assessment? What's in it for me?
Course and program improvement - Assessment provides feedback to determine how courses and programs can be improved to enhance student learning.
Self evaluation of instruction - Assessment can be used by faculty to help them self-evaluate and improve their teaching.
Course design and revision - Assessment can help in the design of new courses with respect to rationalizing the need for that new course and how it should be positioned in the in the curriculum. Additionally, learning outcomes can be used by the faculty in the classes that they teach to assist them in developing assignments that include the intended abilities, knowledge, values and attitudes of that course or program.
Curricular assessment and change - Assessment can help departments think about their curriculum. A department can determine in which of the offered courses each learning outcome is addressed to determine if redundancy or overlap occur and where gaps exist.
(Adapted from Gronlund, 2000 and Roth, Beyer, and Gillmore, 2002)