What is assessment?
At the end of the day, when we talk about student assessment, we are talking how we
evaluate student learning and performance. Assessments are important for both the
students and the instructor to monitor academic progress. At CELT, we can help you
redefine your assessments to make measuring student progress faster, more effective,
and more fun. Our workshops and individual consultations cover topics such as designing
assessment rubrics, writing effective multiple choice questions, designing course
objectives that align with the skills you actually want to measure, how to scaffold
and motivate active student discussions and engaged learning, and more.
Request a consultation
with one of our pedagogy or assessment experts and start planning your assessment
success trategy today!
If you're looking for University or Program Assessment resources, visit
Stony Brook University's Institutional Assessment homepage.
"Assessment is an ongoing process aimed at understanding and improving student learning.
It involves making our expectations explicit and public; setting appropriate criteria
and high standards for learning quality; systematically gathering, analyzing, and
interpreting evidence to determine how well performance matches those expectations
and standards; and using the resulting information to document, explain, and improve
performance. When it is embedded effectively within larger institutional systems,
assessment can help us focus our collective attention, examine our assumptions, and
create a shared academic culture dedicated to assuring and improving the quality of
higher education" (Thomas Angelo).
What are the benefits of assessment?
What do we really want to know about our students? The questions you ask will vary
from program to program, whether they deal with students learning specific content,
skills or attitudes or perhaps issues of student motivation and ability to monitor
their own learning. Our assumption is that the key assessment questions are best known
by the program faculty themselves, for they are the ones who encounter students on
a daily basis, whether in their classes or outside. But finding ways to answer these
questions is key to our success.
Academic assessment seeks to answer the broad question, "What and how well do our
students learn what we are attempting to teach them?" As such, it is primarily designed
to evaluate individual programs as a whole, such as academic majors or interdisciplinary
programs, and to determine where the programs might be strengthened in order to improve
the students' abilities to learn. The primary audience for academic assessments is
not administrators or accrediting agencies, but, rather, the program faculty themselves.
An assessment program is essentially a way of making implicit and informal discussions,
concerns, and questions that faculty have about their classes and their students
explicit in ways that are meaningful to the faculty, programs and the institution.
Academic assessments work best when they are designed and carried out by the academic
faculty themselves, supported by appropriate support units in the University. Therefore,
it is essential that all faculty in our programs ask themselves such key questions
as, "What should a graduate of our program know, be able to do, and/or value?" and
"How do our courses provide students with opportunities to develop their knowledge,
skills, and values?" The answers to such questions provide the basis for beginning
the assessment process.
At what levels does assessment occur?
There are many levels at which assessment in higher education can take place.
Assessment can have a scope as broad as assessing a group of institutions (such as
in a consortium of one's peers), and as narrow as the individual student.
The resources on this website are focused on the department/program and course/group
Assessment Symposium, 2016