Assessment of Student Learning
Assessment of student learning is the process by which we come to understand if students are accomplishing the learning goals and outcomes we set for them. Assessment occurs at the course, program, college, school, and university levels. Whether assessment is formative (occuring during the process of learning) or summative (occuring at the end of the learning process), it provides teachers information about what students know, what students can do, and what students hold of value. The process of assessment is cyclical.
- Teachers first determine what learning goals are appropriate for a class or program of study.
- Teachers then determine the measurable objectives that comprise each learning goal. (Some disciplines combine goals and objectives into learning outcomes.)
- Teachers collect information that shows to what extent an objective was achieved. This information can be quantitative or qualitative.
- The collected information is analyzed and discussed to determine what it means with respect to what is taught, how it is taught, and how students are engaged with that content and teaching methods.
- The result of the analysis and discussion is feedback to the course, program, college, school, or university about what needs to be changed and what is working particularly well and should not be changed.
- Based on that feedback, curricular and programmatic changes are made. At this point, the assessment cycle begins anew.
A variety of resources are available to teachers, departments, and colleges and schools. Each college and school is represented on the University Assessment Committee. Representatives are available to help individual faculty and departments with their assessment needs. Several offices on campus exist to help teachers and units with assessment, as well, including:
- The Office for Academic Excellence and Assessment
- The Clinical Assessment Center within the Office of Medical Education.
- The Office of Faculty Development & Assessment within the School of Pharmacy and Health Professions
Our Assessment Resources page is a good place to learn more about assessment and how it can help you help students learn more effectively.