At the University of Michigan- Dearborn, student learning is assessed at multiple levels; from the top tier- institutional level Goals for Undergraduate Learning Experience to general education outcomes and individual academic program learning goals.
At each level, assessing student learning is about understanding:
- Are our students learning what we expect them to learn?
- What is your evidence that you are teaching what you think you are teaching?
- Why do programs have to do assessment?
- What is assessment for?
Assessment is, to a great extent, simply a more systematic effort to do what responsible instructors are already doing on their own. The purpose of assessment is to improve how well your program teaches your students the concepts and skills you want them to know and demonstrate.
In contrast to the evaluations we provide individual students (normally in the form of course grades) so that they can determine their progress in a course or course of study, program assessment provides us, the faculty and administrators in charge of degree programs, with valuable information as to how well our programs are working with respect to student learning. We are thus our own primary audience for our assessment activities.
Faculty continually discuss whether their students are learning and if so, how well. The process of assessment regularizes and formalizes what faculty and staff do as part their normal professional practice.
The results of any activities used for program or general education assessment may not be used for promotion and/or tenure files or for annual performance evaluations or for the evaluation of any student's progress in a course or progress toward a degree. Assessment activities, however, are integral to the processes of teaching and learning.
Why do Assessment? We care about our students!
Faculty and staff want to improve student learning. By measuring performance against learning outcomes and examining the results, faculty are able to discern what strategies or techniques are working well and what needs to be changed or modified.