Qualities of Good Assessment (summarizing Suskie, 2009)
As suggested in Unit 2, a good assessment process embodies the four components of the continuous improvement loop:
- Establishing clear, measurable expected outcomes of student learning.
- Ensuring that students have sufficient opportunities to achieve those outcomes.
- Systematically gathering, analyzing, and interpreting evidence to determine how well actual student learning matches our expectations.
- Using the resulting information to understand and improve student learning.
Perhaps the most important component—and the one most often overlooked—is the last: assessment results should be used to improve teaching and learning and inform curricular and budget planning in a department, as well across the university. The key point: assessment is only as good as it is useful (and used). Assessment data that sits on a shelf unused is a waste of everyone’s time and resources and fails to satisfy its fundamental purpose: ongoing and systematic improvement of student learning outcomes.
With this in mind, Linda Suskie (2009, Table 3.1, p. 37) lists four key dimensions of good assessment processes. Good assessments:
- provide (reasonably) accurate and truthful information,
- have a clear purpose,
- engage faculty and staff, and
- focus on clear and important student learning goals.
To this we could add a fifth key characteristic:
- Effectively balance costs and benefits.
Suskie’s diagram shows how these characteristics of good assessment overlap, as illustrated below. In the next section we take a closer look at these five dimensions of good assessment that Suskie identified.
Pages: 1 2