This broad term can have very different meanings, but the overall goal of assessment is to improve student learning. Perhaps Linda Suskie (2009) of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education defines it best, “Assessment is the ongoing process of 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 students learning matches the expectations and using the resulting information to understand and improve student learning.”
The main purpose of assessment is to improve student learning, therefore assessment provides the opportunity to make necessary changes to a curriculum, pedagogy, advising and student support. Assessment assists instructors to evaluate whether students are achieving identified outcomes/objectives and provides information to improve a course or program.
In addition, because Lake Land College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), it is required to document assessment outcomes, measures, achievement targets, results, and the overall changes made to a program or course.
Assessment is sometimes confused with evaluation. But it is important to differentiate between the two. Evaluation is the analysis and use of data by faculty to make judgments about student performance. This can many times determine what aspects of a particular assignment students, as a group, do well with and what aspects they are less proficient at. When faculty use this information to change their teaching methods, for example, in an attempt to improve student performance on a particular assignment the next time the course is taught, they are doing “assessment.”
Course and program assessment can provide data that will help course instructors, programs, and departments make informed decisions in terms of the program strengths and areas for improvement. In addition, the data collected for assessment can also be used for other purposes such as annual reviews (ICCB Program Review, for example).
Assessment is an ongoing process of identifying outcomes/objectives, collecting and analyzing data, and making changes (when necessary for improvement). That being said, programs, courses and departments do not need to assess EVERY outcome every year, but should have a plan to assess at least one per semester/year.
Please refer to the “Important Dates” section on the Assessment Homepage for specific deadline due dates.
In December of 2010, Lake Land College implemented WEAVEonline Assessment Software. Weave essentially acts as a central housing location for all components of assessment (program, course, and institutional). For your convenience, a WEAVE link can be found in the gray section to the left on this page.
Please contact Lisa Madlem, Director of Academic Support and Assessment, at 217-234-5088 or Webb Hall, room 020.