Office of Academic Assessment


A Definition of Assessment

From the Higher Learning Commission


The Higher Learning Commission defines assessment of student learning in the following way:


“Assessment of student learning is a participatory, iterative process that:


  • Provides data/information you need on your students’ learning

  • Engages you and others in analyzing and using this data/information to confirm and improve teaching and learning

  • Produces evidence that students are learning the outcomes you intended

  • Guides you in making educational and institutional improvements

  • Evaluates whether changes made improve/impact student learning, and documents the learning and your efforts.”


Fundamental Questions for evaluation:


  • How are your stated learning outcomes appropriate to your mission, programs, students and degrees?

  • How do you ensure shared responsibility for student learning & assessment of student learning?

  • What evidence do you have that students achieve your stated learning outcomes?

  • In what ways do you analyze and use evidence of student learning?

  • How do you evaluate and improve the effectiveness of your efforts to assess and improve student learning?


From “Student Learning, Assessment and Accreditation: Criteria and Contexts”, presented at Making a Difference in Student Learning: Assessment as a Core Strategy, a workshop from the Higher Learning Commission, July 26-28, 2006.