10 Best Practices


Ten Best Practices in Student Outcomes Assessment


  1. Assessment is a product of input and discussion by the entire department (faculty and students).


  1. Assessment is not an external “checkup” added onto instruction.  As an ongoing effort, it integrates seamlessly into program review, the curricular process, and pedagogy, assuring quality and providing feedback on collective performance.


  1. Assessment focuses on the major (degree program) rather than on individual courses. 


  1. The number of learning goals and outcomes is small.


  1. In assessing, faculty members ask, what knowledge, skills, and/or habits of mind do we want our students to have learned through their study of this major?  Are students learning this?  How well are they learning this?  How do we know?


  1. Assessment uses direct and indirect measures in which faculty have genuine interest and confidence.  (i.e., Don’t ask if you don’t want to know.  Don’t use a measure when you doubt that its results will actually help you and your students improve learning.)


  1. Often, assessment draws on real student work:  common course exams, research projects, short argumentative papers, journals, oral presentations, portfolios, capstone experiences, other course-embedded assignments.


  1. Students understand their role in assessment.  They are familiar through program literature and advising with the goals and outcomes of their majors.  They know about assessment efforts and how their professors are using assessment to enhance student learning.


  1. Faculty use assessment to make changes in the curriculum to enhance student learning.


  1. Faculty members make assessment manageable.  They don’t collect more data than they can easily and quickly turn into useful information. 



Sources: Concordia College, Ball State University, Higher Learning Commission (NCA), Kansas State University, Peter Ewell,” Assessment that Matters:  Creating Authentic Academic Cultures of Evidence” http://www.usna.edu/CTL/DeptPosters/PostersPPT/Ewell.pps.; T.A. Angelo, “Doing Assessment as if Learning Matters Most,”  2005 Assessment Institute, Oct. 24, 2005, Indianapolis, IN.




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