Creating and Maintaining a Culture of Assessment

July 23, 2014 Kristen Hicks

It’s easy for a school to talk about implementing a culture of assessment, but it’s not easy for a school to actually implement one unless that school is truly committed to developing a more comprehensive assessment process. After all, the priority for faculty members is working with students and helping them learn, while the process of measuring learning can often seem like a tedious afterthought.

Why Embracing a Culture of Assessment Is Important

Assessment isn’t just about pleasing accreditors. To give your students the best education possible, you have to be able to track what’s working for them and what still needs work.

With the amount of data available to educators and administrators today, there’s no reason to base curriculums on guesswork. You don’t have to make decisions based on what you think will work; you can easily gain a clear understanding of what definitely works and let that guide course offerings, lectures, test questions, homework assignments, and so forth.

A culture of assessment includes accountability, which doesn’t have to be something dry and punitive. It can just mean tracking how successful different efforts are so schools and faculty members can constantly improve and better help students achieve their academic goals.

How to Create a Culture of Assessment

Embedded assessment allows you to turn everything you do into valuable data for tracking student success. By tagging the questions on exams and tying the grading of any essays or other assignments to desired-learning outcomes and subject categories, you can turn everything students do during their time at your institution into detailed reports on their progress and how they learn.

If faculty and administrators learn to make measuring and reviewing assessment data a regular part of their jobs, the value of having a culture of assessment will quickly reveal itself. You’ll have access to real-time analytics on how successful your education efforts are, and you’ll have the information needed to create a plan for making any necessary changes.

What You Can Get Out of It

The aforementioned data can be used to improve how schools work at every level. For example, administrators can make more informed decisions about curriculum planning and what resources to make available to students, faculty can refine their teaching methods based on what students are responding to, and students can get a better idea of what they need to do to study more efficiently.

Educators want to help students learn. Implementing a culture of assessment can help them to do that more effectively.

 

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