Overview of the ‘Assessment Modules’

Assessment Benefits and Barriers
Assessment provides a unique set of benefits that can be leveraged by a range of institutional stakeholders. This module provides an opportunity to learn more about some of the more common barriers to effective assessment and how best to respond to them.

This module addresses the following questions:

What are The Benefits of Assessment?
What is the Purpose of Gathering Assessment Data?
Why are Assessment Data Useful?

What are Some Concerns About Assessment?

What are Steps That an Institution Can Take to Make Assessment Useful?

Demystifying Assessment
This module offers an overview of basic assessment vocabulary.  Since some of the terminology included in the module are used interchangeably at different institutions and across accrediting agencies, we indicate this where possible.  Even as language changes, the overall ideas are fundamental.  We recommend that assessment language should be used consistently within your institution even if it is not used consistently across institutions or agencies.  We hope this module offers an opportunity to establish a shared assessment vocabulary within your institution.

This module addresses the following questions:

What Does Assessment Mean?
How is Assessment Related to Evaluation?
What Basic Assessment Terminology Do I Need To Know?

What Frameworks Will Help Me Understand Assessment in Higher Education?

Goals and Objectives
Goals and objectives are foundational components of assessment at the course, program, and institutional levels.  In this module, we explore the benefits of clear and aligned goals and objectives and the relationship between goals and objectives at the course, program, and institutional levels.  This module offers a process for drafting new goals and objectives as well as reviewing and/or revising already-existing goals and objectives.  Examples of goals and objectives for courses and programs across disciplines are provided.

This module addresses the following questions:

How are Goals and Objectives Defined?
What are Goals and Objectives?
What are the Benefits of Having Course Goals, Outcomes, and Learning Objectives?
How are Goals and Learning Objectives Created?
How Do I Know If My Learning Objectives are Appropriate?
What are the differences between Learning Objectives at the Course Level and Learning Outcomes at the Program Level?

Gathering Data
Gathering high quality data helps to ensure a successful assessment effort.  This module focuses on the relationship between planning and the assessment process and explores factors one should consider before deciding which data to gather.  Best practices for gathering data, including benefits and challenges of utilizing various methods or approaches, are discussed. Examples are provided throughout, along with a template for embedding data gathering into an assessment plan.

This module addresses the following questions:

What is the Relationship Between Planning and the Assessment Process?
How Important is Planning to Effective Data Use?
What Factors Do I Need to Consider Before Deciding What Data to Gather?
What are the Best Practices for Gathering Data?

Using Assessment Data
One of the often cited challenges of assessment is that data is gathered, but not used to effect change.  In this module we explore the purpose of gathering assessment data and how institutions can most effectively leverage that data. This module discusses the range of ways assessment data can be used at various levels of an institution for analysis, decision making, and improvement.  This module provide guidelines for how to avoid ineffective uses of data. Examples are provided throughout, along with a template for designing how to articulate results to a range of audiences.

This module addresses the following questions:

How Can and Should Assessment Data Be Used?
What are the Range of Ways to Use Assessment Data?
How Can We Move from Ineffective Uses of Data to Closing the Loop?

Developing Sustainable Assessment Practices
Planning for sustainability of assessment practices is a key component of ensuring the success of assessment initiatives at the course, program, and institutional levels. This module explores how assessment initiatives can fit into a broader strategic plan at an institution and how best to evaluate institutional-level assessment practices.  This module also examines the common obstacles to developing sustainable assessment programs and practices.  Examples are provided throughout along with a templates for reviewing current assessment practices and creating new sustainable assessment initiatives at the course, program and institutional levels.

This module addresses the following questions:

What Do Sustainable Assessment Practices Look Like?
How Do You Know if Your Assessment Practices are Sustainable?
How Do You Plan for Sustainable Assessment Programs and Practices at Your Institution?