The Importance of Assessment
Assessment is important for several reasons. Assessment demonstrates achievement of learning goals and objectives. In addition, it places a responsibility not only on students, but also on the faculty and institution as a whole to achieve these goals and objectives.
Accrediting organizations, governing boards, and state governments are increasingly calling upon, if not mandating, colleges and universities to assess student learning. Grand Valley State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Many of GVSU's programs, such as education, social work, nursing, and business, have external accreditation bodies for their field.
An Assessment Environment
For assessment to be successful, an institution must have commitment from its leaders and stakeholders. GVSU achieves an environment of assessment when all members of the GVSU community have a vested interest in the mutually achieved learning, as well as how these results relate to students' education. An environment of assessment is an integral part of the process of change and creation of a results-centered learning environment.
Problematic Issues in Assessment
Deliberately or not, we are all involved in assessment with students. Through our coursework, program development, and daily university life, we constantly assess ourselves, our students, and our programs. The difficulty lies in formalizing this process. Creating definitions and developing methods of assessment can be a confusing task, when assessment activities are an informal part of our work.
There is no one standardized test that can assess student learning, program relevance, and university services. That is why university-wide assessment is an on-going process. As assessment methods emerge for one program, another part of our community may still struggle with the process. As different university constituencies communicate with each other, formalization will solidify and assessment will become a less confusing part of our programs.
Page last modified April 27, 2016