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What is Assessment?

PURPOSE OF ASSESSMENT AT GVSU 
Grand Valley’s two-pronged mission is to educate students to shape their lives, their professions, and their societies and to contribute to the enrichment of society through excellent teaching, active scholarship, and public service.

To monitor the extent to which student education and societal enrichment are occurring and the quality of the outcomes achieved as the result of the University’s activities, Grand Valley has established a comprehensive, multi-level assessment structure.

This assessment structure and the processes required to ensure that the structure permeates the entire institution are integral to the institution’s cycle of continuous program improvement. Improvement in which administrators, faculty, students and external organizations are engaged in examining and refining all aspects of the university’s operations – including its academic components, its administrative functions, its facilities, its policies and procedures, its impacts on students, and its relationships with the broader community and world.

BACKGROUND OF ASSESSMENT AT GVSU
In 1991, Grand Valley’s Provost established the institution’s first assessment task force. Several years later the ad hoc task force was renamed the University Assessment Committee and in April 2003, the University Academic Senate approved the UAC as a standing committee of faculty governance, placing assessment responsibility within the purview of faculty governance.

Today the University Assessment Committee (UAC) is responsible for developing the formats for the assessment reports and Grand Valley program self-studies that guide units in analyzing and reporting their findings. The committee reviews all assessment plans, reports and self studies and provides feedback and guidance to academic units for using assessment findings to drive programmatic improvements. In 2005, the University created the position of Assessment & Accreditation Officer, which is positioned within the Provost’s Office, as a support for assessment and reaccreditation activities institution-wide. The position works in close collaboration with the UAC to provide assistance to units for their assessment activities.

UNDERLYING ASSUMPTIONS OF GVSU’s ASSESSMENT OF STUDENT LEARNING OUTCOMES:

  • Faculty determine student learning outcomes for their programs. These outcomes may be shaped by the requirements of accrediting agencies.
  • Student learning outcomes help the institution achieve the institution’s mission and college, departmental and academic units’ goals and objectives.
  • Student learning outcomes are written in clear, measurable terms (qualitative and quantitative in nature) and are understandable and understood by students.
  • Student learning outcomes address student knowledge, behavior/skills, and attitudes.

UNDERLYING ASSUMPTIONS OF GVSU’s DATA COLLECTION, DATA ANALYSIS AND DATA REPORTING COMPONENTS OF ASSESSMENT
Grand Valley believes that to be effective, assessment planning and implementation must include:

  • clear plan for and designation of the party or parties responsible for collecting and analyzing all pieces of assessment data, and the provision of adequate resources to support this collection and analysis;
  • regular, frequent collection and analysis of assessment data;
  • multiple measures of key learning outcomes;
  • clarity about the audience and distribution of all assessment reports or findings (ex. faculty, students, dean, alumni, community members, etc.).

UNDERLYING ASSUMPTIONS OF GRAND VALLEY’S ASSESSMENT RESULTS DISSEMINATION PROCESSES:

  • Faculty design and implement the assessment program and use its results in many ways to improve the educational content and learning experiences they provide.
  • Authority and responsibility for the design and operation of assessment is shared throughout the faculty and administration, and by many other institutional stakeholders.
  • Assessment of student learning outcomes is linked to program review to encourage continual program improvement.
  • Students understand the purposes of assessment and participate in meaningful assessment of their learning experiences. In addition, students are represented on the University Assessment Committee and other unit assessment committees. Program-related student learning outcomes and related assessments should also be included in course syllabi.

RESOURCES
Resources for assessing student learning, including development of learning objectives, rubrics, and surveys, can be found on the UAC webpage. Additional resources are available through the Pew Faculty Teaching & Learning Center.