Assessing Student Learning
Principles of Good Assessment
Assessment is systematic inquiry in support of student learning. Good assessment provides insight into how well we are achieving institutional goals and how well students are accomplishing the learning goals in their academic programs.
Assessment processes at Utica College are guided by accreditation requirements and best practices, as defined by the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA), the Association for American Colleges and Universities (AAC & U), the Association for the Assessment of Learning in Higher Education (AALHE), and other agencies relevant to UC's curricular and co-curricular offerings.
Utica College adheres to the following principles of academic assessment:
- Good assessment is governed by faculty. Faculty determine what learning should occur in each of their programs and at the institutional-level. They provide the opportunities for students to achieve this learning; select the means by which the learning will be measured; determine the outcomes, benchmarks, or targets; and own the analysis and interpretation of assessment findings.
- Good assessment is non-punitive. Continuous improvement is the heart of assessment. Results are used solely to inform positive change to curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment practices.
- Good assessment is well-planned and well-documented. It yields useful results that are specific enough to inform improved curriculum, pedagogy, and services.
- Good assessment is student-centered. Assessment is something we do for students, not something done to students.
Effective Assessment Processes
Effective assessment processes are characterized by the following:
- They are organized around goals.
- They use multiple methods to assess individual goals.
- They rely primarily on direct evidence; indirect evidence is used to supplement the narrative.
- They provide specific evidence regarding areas of strength and areas needing improvement.
- They result in a compelling narrative.
- They produce results that are useful to planning and decision-making.
- They are shared with and analyzed by all relevant stakeholders.
Ideas about effective assessment practices may be found in the Assessment Resources.
Reflections on current practices may be accessed at "Assessment at Utica College" (https://assessmentuc.blogspot.com/), the institution's blog dedicated to sharing and exchanging ideas about assessment and pedagogy. The Pecha Kucha presentation, "The Wizard of Oz-essment," also highlights ways to think about academic assessment.
Requirements and expectations regarding assessment at Utica College may be found in the following documents:
- Guide to Academic Assessment: 2019-2020
- Guide to Institutional Effectiveness at Utica College: 2019-2020