As highlighted in our strategic plan, The Citadel is committed to fostering a culture of assessment and continuous improvement throughout the campus environment. A major component of this culture is the assessment of principled leadership, student development, and student learning outcomes with the goal of enhancing both teaching and learning. A culture of assessment exists when assessment activities become a part of the daily life of a campus, when data is used for decision-making and to improve student learning, and when assessment processes are institutionalized across all campus functional areas. Effective assessment requires collaborative, campus-wide involvement.
The American Association of Higher Education (AAHE), supported through grant funding from the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE), established the first recognized principles for assessment and published Principles of Good Practice for Assessing Student Learning through AAHE. This text proposes the following nine principles of effective assessment in higher education:
The assessment of student learning begins with educational values.
Assessment is most effective when it reflects an understanding of learning as multidimensional, integrated, and revealed in performance over time.
Assessment works best when the programs it seeks to improve have clear, explicitly stated purposes.
Assessment requires attention to outcomes but also and equally to the experiences that lead to those outcomes.
Assessment works best when it is ongoing, not episodic.
Assessment fosters wider improvement when representatives from across the educational community are involved.
Assessment makes a difference when it begins with issues of use and illuminates questions that people really care about.
Assessment is most likely to lead to improvement when it is part of a larger set of conditions that promote change.
Through assessment, educators meet responsibilities to students and to the public. (AAHE, 1992, pp.2-3)