Assessment answers two basic questions: What are our students learning, and how do we know? (Angelo and Cross, Classroom Assessment Techniques, 1993)
Assessment is the ongoing process of:
- Establishing clear, measurable expected outcomes of student learning
- Ensuring that students have sufficient opportunities to achieve those outcomes
- Systematically gathering, analyzing and interpreting evidence to determine how well student learning matches our expectations
- Using the resulting information to understand and improve student learning
Source: Suskie, Linda (2009). Assessing Student Learning: A Common Sense Guide. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, p. 4.
Learning outcomes (also called learning goals) are goals that describe how students will be different because of a learning experience. More specifically, learning outcomes are the knowledge, skills, attitudes and habits of mind that students take with them from a learning experience.
Source: Suskie, Linda (2009). Assessing Student Learning: A Common Sense Guide. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, p. 117.
In developing the Learning Outcomes Assessment Model for the College, the following guiding principles were influential.
An effective assessment plan must:
- Be aligned with the classroom instruction and learning goals
- Provide constructive feedback regarding learning outcomes to instructors, program and department heads, curriculum coordinators, deans and students
- Help students understand the elements of excellent work so they may begin to develop the skills of self evaluation
- Incorporate assessment of the College’s general education requirements
- Provide standardized measures that accommodate all levels of learning
- Be fair and unbiased
- Be simple and easy to administer
- Satisfy the Middle States Commission on Higher Education’s charge that an institution establish a coherent set of learning goals, that these goals stem from the institutional mission, and that goals at the subordinate levels contribute to the attainment of goals at the higher levels
Include the student learning outcomes for your course on your syllabus.
When developing or listing course learning outcomes, use numbers to identify them, not bullets. It is easier to refer to them by number when doing curriculum mapping.