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Assessment refers to a process where methods are used by a faculty member, department, program or institution to generate and collect data for evaluation of processes, courses, and programs with the ultimate purpose of evaluating overall educational quality and improving student learning. This term refers to any method used to gather evidence and evaluate quality and may include both quantitative and qualitative data. (California Academic Senate, Draft SLO Terminology Glossary)

Keep in mind the basics of assessment as you explore your process

Nine Principles of Good Practice for Assessing Student Learning

  1. The assessment of student learning begins with educational values.
  2. Assessment is most effective when it reflects an understanding of learning as multidimensional, integrated, and revealed in performance over time.
  3. Assessment works best when the programs it seeks to improve have clear, explicitly stated purposes.
  4. Assessment requires attention to outcomes but also and equally to the experiences that lead to those outcomes.
  5. Assessment works best when it is ongoing not episodic.
  6. Assessment fosters wider improvement when representatives from across the educational community are involved.
  7. Assessment makes a difference when it begins with issues of use and illuminates questions that people really care about.
  8. Assessment is most likely to lead to improvement when it is part of a larger set of conditions that promote change.
  9. Through assessment, educators meet responsibilities to students and to the public.

To view the descriptions of all nine principles, here is the whole document.

The Planning and Research Office Can Help

Assessment is an integral part of student learning outcomes. The Research Office can help with your assessments whether you are involved with SLOs in or out of the classroom.

An assessment tool may be anything you deem appropriate for measuring student learning. It may be as simple as a few key questions in the form of an exit exam or a set of questions administered twice as pre/post tests. In any case, the Research Office can advise on methods of assessment or analyzing data, and help you design assessment tools suitable for your particular needs.

Please contact the Research Office at any time for more information and note the Helpful Links on the SLO and Research web pages.

Using Assessment Results

Now that you’ve made your decision about what to assess and how to assess, completed your assessment, and gathered a pile of results – what’s next?

Step One – Organize
Step Two – Summarize
Step Three – Act 

In all of these steps, the Office of Research and Planning, the SLO Coordinator & Ambassadors, and the Student Learning Committee can provide support and encouragement.

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