What is Assessment?
“Assessment is any effort to gather analyze, and interpret evidence which describes institutional, divisional or agency effectiveness" (Upcraft and Schuh, 1996, p 18).
Why is Assessment Important to Loyola University Chicago?
As a research university, LUC views assessment as a natural concern of educators. We want to know what our students have learned, the means by which they learned, and the effectiveness of the learning process. As student affairs practitioners, we must ask: “What evidence might we gather that our students, taken as a group, are in fact acceptably achieving the learning outcomes that we intend?" (“Assessment Protocol” Ignatian Pedagogy, n.d) The pursuit of this question is how we learn what our students know and what they are able to do as the result of participating in co-curricular activities. We see assessment as a crucial part of our work towards continuous improvement of all that we do.
The following is a comprehensive assessment model adapted from Assessment Practice in Student Affairs, an Application Manual. It is highly recommended that departments in the division of student development consult this model prior to conducting assessment. This model provides eight recommended components to an assessment that can help departments frame or plan assessment initiatives:
Tracking—Keeping track of who uses student services, programs, and facilities.
Needs Assessment—Assessing student and other clientele needs.
Satisfaction Assessment—Assessing student and other clientele satisfaction.
Student Cultures/Campus Environment Assessment—Assessing campus environments and student cultures.
Outcomes Assessment—Assessing learning outcomes.
Comparable Institution Assessment—Comparing your program/initiative to your peer institutions.
National Standards Assessment—Using nationally accepted standards to assess.
Cost-Effective Assessment—Assessing the cost of a program/initiative related to the amount of student learning or successful achievement of the outcomes.
Ensure that every department within the Division of Student Development has articulated learning outcomes for their programs and initiatives.
Determine that each department has methods in place to assess their stated outcomes.
Establish a yearly reporting process at departmental and divisional level to provide supporting data on assessment of student learning for the Division’s annual report.
Develop capacity to engage in assessment work, and foster a culture of assessment throughout the Division.
Implement a cycle of high-quality direct and indirect assessment practices that support continuous co-curricular enhancements.