What is Academic Assessment?
Directly linked to an institution's mission and learning goals, academic assessment is the process of researching how well educational programs and opportunities are working to promote student learning, development, and growth. Academic assessment is the process of collecting, analyzing, and using information to determine if students are actually learning the intended objectives of the courses, programs, and schools in which they are enrolled.
Regardless of the scope or topic, all assessment plans include three primary stages: identifying the student learning goals (objectives), collecting and assessing information to see how well the goals are being met, and taking action as a result of the new information gleamed from the research. An assessment is NOT complete without this final "feedback loop," where results are directly used to inform decision-making.
Every institution must clarify for itself an appropriate assessment program, based on its own mission and learning goals. Programs within institutions must similarly craft appropriate assessment plans that link to institution, school, and program goals. This means faculty and instructors remain the key actors involved in the design and implementation of course and program-level academic assessment.