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Assessing for Learning

Definition of Assessment

The college has adopted the definition of assessment from Thomas A. Angelo: (AAHE Bulletin, November 1995, P.7)

Assessment is an ongoing process aimed at understanding and improving student learning. It involves making our expectations explicit and public; setting appropriate criteria and high standards for learning quality; systematically gathering, analyzing, and interpreting evidence to determine how well performance matches those expectations and standards; and using the resulting information to document, explain, and improve performance. When it is embedded effectively within larger institutional systems, assessment can help us focus our collective attention, examine our assumptions, and create a shared academic culture dedicated to assuring and improving the quality of higher education.

The key elements of this definition are embedded in the college’s principles of assessment and throughout the handbook.  The college is committed to seeing assessment as an ongoing process aimed at improving student learning in all of its departments, divisions, offices and campuses.  We will set appropriate and high quality student learning outcomes and administrative and support services objectives.   We will systematically gather, analyze and interpret evidence to determine how our performance is impacting student learning and use that evidence to continuously improve our systems.  We will seek to develop a culture of evidence where assessment data and research provide a basis for decision making.

Approaches to assessment are changing to student and learning centered instruction.   Peter Ewell, one of the nation’s foremost authorities on outcomes assessment, summarized the state-of-the-art of assessment.

State of the Art op Assessment


Assessment is considered essential. "The assessment of student learning has become an essential operating requirement for colleges and universities". Virtually every accrediting body requires on-going assessment and demonstrated impact of the assessment process.


Assessment involves scholarship. Assessment should be thought of as ". . . less a ‘mechanism’ than a mindset. For faculty, this mindset is best characterized as turning familiar values of scholarship toward the core activities of teaching and learning"  


Assessment is here to stay. Assessment has been around too long to be considered new or trendy, and it won’t quietly fade away.

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