What are the characteristics of a good assessment plan?

Although assessment methods vary across disciplines, there are some steps that apply regardless of the context:

  1. setting learning goals
  2. finding out what you already know about student learning in your program
  3. gathering multiple kinds of evidence to answer questions you have about students’ progress in learning
  4. analyzing and interpreting the findings
  5. using the findings to celebrate strengths
  6. using the findings to inform changes such as
    • making adjustments to your curriculum or program
    • changing teaching/learning methodologies
    • re-directing use of resources, including budget allocations.

Good assessment practices are manageable, meaningful, and integrated into daily teaching and learning practices. In many ways, assessment is analogous to a research project, where the object of study is student learning. The methods vary according to one’s discipline; the kinds of evidence used need to make sense with one’s field.