Priming your Assessment: The Importance of Planning

assessment1Assessment is essential not only to guide the development of individual students but also to monitor and continuously improve the quality of programs, inform prospective students and their parents, and provide evidence of accountability. Assessment is needed for learning. Assessment and feedback are crucial for helping people learn.  Assessment should mirror good instruction; happen continuously as part of instruction; and provide information about the levels of understanding that students are reaching. In order for learners to gain insight into their learning and their understanding, frequent feedback is critical. Students need to monitor their learning and actively evaluate their strategies and their current levels of understanding.

Successful assessment requires developing meaningful assessment plans. Planning may occur at the institutional, division, and department levels and involve general education assessment, campus-wide assessment, and establishing requirements for unit plans.

Elements of an Effective Assessment Plan – include such things as purpose for assessment, methods that will be used, the timeline for administration, the framework for using the assessment information, and provisions for administering the plan.  Essentials for any assessment plan include the following components:

  • Departmental Goals – describe what the department intends to accomplish, how the department’s goals relate to campus mission, and purposes for assessment
  • Learning Objectives – describe what students must know, do, and value
  • Techniques and Target Groups – indicate how you will determine whether learning objectives have been met, including methods, target groups, and any impact on students
  • Time Line – indicate when data will be collected and analyzed, when reports will be available, and when recommendations will be made
  • Provisions for Administration – indicate who has responsibility for seeing the plan is carried out, who will conduct and analyze data, and who will summarize/report results
  • Use of Information – describe provisions for sharing information with internal and external audiences, and for making recommendations and decisions
  • Assessment Evaluation – indicate how the assessment program itself will be evaluated

Are you currently asking yourself any of the following questions…

  • We are spending time and resources trying to achieve student learning – is it working?
  • When we claim to be graduating students with qualities like “critical thinking” or “scientific literacy”, do we have evidence of our claims?
  • We have the impression that our students are weak in areas X – would more systematic research back up this impression and help us understand the weaknesses more thoroughly?
  • When we identify a weakness in our students’ learning, how can we best address the problem?
  • How can we improve learning most effectively in a time of tight resources?
           (Questions from Assessment Clear and Simple by Walvoord 2004)

If you answered yes to any of the above, we invite you to our upcoming web presentation, an Introduction to LiveText’s Assessment Insight System. During this presentation, you will gain insight into how to lay a more effective foundation for institutional assessment, supported by technology. See how institutions and programs are streamlining the process of defining and distributing both academic and non-academic assessment plans, monitor planning initiatives in real-time, generating in-depth reports, creating showcases to internal stakeholders for review, and most importantly, using this data to close the loop for continuous improvement.

Remember, successful assessment requires meaningful planning.

Register today to attend our complimentary webinar and see what’s possible!

Introduction to LiveText’s Assessment Insight System
Date: Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015
Time: 1pm to 2pm CT