It is clear that assessment of student outcomes is a best practice in higher education: this is due to its vast potential for deepened understanding, and improving, of student learning - the raison d’etre of any university. It is therefore critical that all stakeholders understand the role of assessment of student learning at multiple levels within the institution.
Within the classroom, assessment of student learning provides both formative and summative feedback to individual faculty members and students regarding what students are actually learning in a given unit or course. The process provides both maps of intended learning and indications of where gaps might be occurring in attainment of those understandings or skills; both of these can then be used to inform next steps in the learning process. At the program level, assessment of student learning clarifies and examines the bigger picture of student knowledge and skills that are expected in each major by the time of graduation. It also supports reflection about how program elements (courses, sequences, etc) as a whole contribute to those outcomes, and fosters critical thinking about the evolution of curriculum, pedagogy, and program structure. At the campus level, assessment of student achievements speaks to the mission and goals of the Campus. It explores learning that goes beyond the major, such as that within general education, “Writing Across the Curriculum,” experiential learning, and other campus-based learning initiatives. Finally, at the university level, understanding patterns in student learning informs all stakeholders about the overall quality of a Long Island University education, and assists the university in creating policies and procedures that further support its goals.
Under the leadership of the Associate VP for Institutional Effectiveness, the Office of Academic Affairs provides direction and support to faculty and staff in setting, measuring, and analyzing the attainment of student learning goals at these various levels. More information about relevant documents and forms can be found at: liushare.liu.edu under “Academic Affairs.”