Reference Guide to Principles and Practices—Questions and Answers
What is assessment?
Assessment is the ongoing process of understanding, improving and documenting student learning.
Why do we do assessment?
To improve student learning.
Is there more to it?
Yes. We assess to observe student performance, reflect the performances back to the student, and guide the student to increased awareness about developing their knowledge and skills.
How does assessment help faculty?
It provides the faculty with useful information about the students, including their qualities as learners and their readiness for learning. Ongoing assessment informs the teacher about the pace and progress of student learning in the classroom.
How do grades and grading practices fit into assessment?
Grading can have several uses. As part of an assessment technique, grades can provide quantifiable and quickly understood feedback for student performance. As part of summative evaluation, grades are often a necessary element in certifying student performance measured against course outcomes. In general, grades are most effective in confirming to students what they have already discovered about their learning and achievement through an ongoing process of meaningful academic assessment.
Does student assessment affect faculty evaluation?
No. At the classroom level, assessment is informed by the expertise and professional judgment of the teacher and does not need to be shared outside the classroom. At the course and program level, assessment data is collected and analyzed in the aggregate, and not by individual classes or teachers.