Ongoing assessment helps Student Affairs understand student needs and experiences; the effectiveness of our programs and services; and their contribution to student growth and development. Assessments also identify opportunities for improvement.
To ensure that assessment is an effective driver and guide for improving our practices, we adopt the following guiding principles for carrying out assessment:
- Connect assessment with program, departmental, divisional, and institutional missions, goals, and identified outcomes
- Involve and engage stakeholders at all levels across the educational community
- Conduct high-quality and rigorous assessment
- Commit to continuous and easy-access professional development opportunities, resources, and support
- Close the assessment loop by utilizing assessment results to inform decision making
- Share assessment results with various stakeholders considering their needs
Figure 1: Description
- Define or revise department goals
Align department goals with the Student Affairs mission and vision, as well as with the Wisconsin Experience. Assessment, as a goal-oriented process, compares student progress and performance with educational purposes and expectations. Clear and explicitly stated goals are the cornerstones for assessment.
- Develop and map learning outcomes
At the program level, define or redefine learning outcomes in alignment with the Student Affairs mission, vision, and goals, as well as with the departmental goals and Wisconsin Experience.
- Plan and implement assessment
Articulate performance indicators that are quantifiable measures for each expected outcome. Then determine the most appropriate methods for collecting data, which encompasses the following components:
- Why (purposes) – Why are we doing the assessment?
- What (types of data to be collected) – What information is to be gathered?
- How (data collection method) – How will the data be collected?
- Who (population & sampling techniques) – Who are you collecting the data from?
- When (timeline) – When will the data be collected?
- Analyze and use findings
Analyze the data and interpret the results in the context of the assessment purpose(s) and goal(s). To provide a base for action, assessment results need to be shared with various stakeholders in ways that they can understand and use. In order to close the assessment loop, results should drive intentional change, such as modification and improvement of programs or services and future assessment processes.
After analysis, use the findings to begin the cycle again with revision of department goals as needed.
The Student Affairs Assessment Committee guides and supports assessment activities across Student Affairs. Serving as the champions for assessment, the Assessment Committee consists of Student Affairs professionals representing each Student Affairs area.