Authentic assessment is on the rise. Assessment is moving from standardized tests to performance-based assessment. Tests are becoming more complex, authentic, and real-world in character. They go beyond multiple-choice questions and ask students to write, show steps as they solve problems, and demonstrate creativity in tasks requiring design and analysis.
The emphasis is on learning, not teaching. Models of student development have changed from being teaching-centered to being learning-centered. The emphasis is on longitudinal development of students, the integration of in-class and out-of-class learning, and assessing the holistic nature of student growth within the university environment. We should assess programs, not just courses, and we should consider the impact of the entire environment on our students, including learning related to options such as clubs, research or performance forums, and community service.
Assessment is being integrated into the teaching and learning process. Assessment is moving from being conceptualized as an "add-on" to being part of the on-going teaching and learning process. "Practitioners have learned that good assessment can also be good pedagogy". Capstone courses throughout the nation are becoming occasions for reflection, analysis, and assessment of students and programs. "Samples of senior . . . papers and exercises . . . can be examined systematically according to faculty-designed scoring rubrics to determine patterns of overall student performance capable of helping identify and inform needed curricular revisions".
Based on the college’s adopted definition of learning and the focus on creating a learning centered college the college has adopted the following principles and assumptions regarding assessment. The principles developed by the college’s IAP Working Group are intended to provide guidance to ensure assessment impact improvement of student learning.
Principles & Assumptions of Assessment
The assessment process is messy and inexact, but must be done as precisely as possible
Outcomes measures should be as direct as possible, although indirect methods, such as industry perceptions, must be included and should somehow use existing artifacts.
Industry-specific professional testing measures of competence may be applied.
Assessment must impact improvement of curriculum, policy, and planning
Decisions arising out of assessment results are not meant to be punitive; rather, they are to be used for program and service improvements.
Assessment is most effective when it reflects an understanding of learning as multidimensional, integrated, and revealed in performance over time.
Assessment works best when the programs it seeks to improve have clear, explicitly stated purposes.
Assessment is a goal-oriented process.
To support the college’s principles and assumptions of assessment the college is also following the Nine Principles of Good Practice for Assessing Student Learning from the AAHE.