Assessment is the strategic-planning process applied to student-learning and is one aspect of institutional effectiveness. Unlike evaluation, which focuses on improving effectiveness of employees, departments, colleges, budgetary units, committees, etc., assessment focuses solely on enhancement of student learning.
Assessment is the systematic process of determining educational objectives and then gathering, using, and analyzing information about student-learning outcomes to make decisions about programs, student progress, and accountability to constituent groups.
Formative assessment is used for progressive improvement (at the individual or program level) rather than for final summative decisions or for accountability. This interim process can provide feedback at various points in the academic program to improve teaching, learning, and curricula, and to identify students strengths and weaknesses.
Summative assessment is a sum-total or final-product assessment of achievement at the end of a course of study.1
1From Assessing Communication Knowledge, Skills, and Attitudes by Phil Backlund, Timothy J. Detwiler, and Pat Arneson, in the upcoming National Communication Association volume on assessment (in press), edited by Phil Backlund and Gay Wakefield, pp. 12-13.
Academic Program Assessment
Academic-program assessment addresses summative (end-of-program) student-learning for academic programs of study, such as majors and certification programs.
General Education Assessment
General Education assessment addresses both formative and summative assessments of the university’s core-courses program and of state-mandated “Exemplary Educational Objectives” within each of the five Core Components established by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. TSU’s General Education Advisory Council leads campus efforts in this area.
Core-course assessment addresses state-mandated “Exemplary Educational Objectives” (EEO’s) within each of the five Core Components established by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Core Component assessment is conducted separately from Program Assessment because it focuses on student learning in core courses rather than student-learning in discipline programs. TSU’s General Education Advisory Council leads campus efforts in this area and has developed a sample EEO report to help guide this area of assessment.