Eastern Michigan University

FAQs About Assessment


What is  Assessment?

Assessment is the process of discovering what students are learning, determining if actual learning meets expectations, and ultimately working to improve future learning opportunities for students.  We can ask three important questions: What are our expectations for student learning? Do we have evidence of that learning? How can we use that evidence to make changes that improve student learning ("close the loop")? 

Why is Assessment of Student Learning important?

Conducting regular assessment  is important for several reasons. First and foremost, it is important  to improve individual student learning as well as to continuously improve academic programs.  It is also important to be able to publicly indicate what learning is achieved in courses and programs.  Finally, the criteria for accreditation, as articulated by the Higher Learning Commission, includes a demonstrated "commitment to educational achievement and improvement through ongoing assessment of student learning" (criterion 4b); in order to receive accreditation, EMU must be able to show that there is a systematic process in place for assessment of student learning.  "Why Assessment" (from the University of Connecticut) provides more details about the importance of assessment.

How often do faculty conduct programmatic assessment?

CAS is on a yearly assessment cycle, with a combined report and plan due in October each year.  Specific due dates can be found here.

Where do I begin?

Begin at the end!  Assessment always starts with creating faculty approved student learning outcomes - what will students be able to know or do at the end of a course or program?.  The University of Connecticut's Assessment Primer contains detailed guidelines and information on writing learning outcomes, planning for assessment, creating curriculum maps, and more.



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