“Assessment need not be complicated, and rightly used it can be a powerful instrument for improvement. Good information in the right hands is potentially the best lever for change. If assessment is done properly, it can provide a basis for wiser planning, budgeting, and change in curriculum, pedagogy, staffing, programming, and student support, rather than wasting resources on the latest educational fad or on vague notions about what might be effective.”
--Barbara Walvoord (2004). Assessment Clear and Simple
Welcome to our updated website! (This website works best with Mozilla or the most recent version of Internet Explorer)
www.gwu.edu/~assess serves faculty, staff, and administrators in the GW community who are working to improve student learning across the curriculum. The website is sponsored by The Office of Academic Planning, Institutional Research, and Assessment (APIRA), to collect and publicize information about assessment.
The Middle States Commission on Higher Education, GW’s regional accrediting agency, mandates that each institution must develop and implement an assessment process to evaluate the institution’s overall effectiveness in achieving its mission and goals and use the results of the assessment to improve student learning. They believe that “the effectiveness of an institution rests upon the contribution that each of the institutions programs and services makes toward achieving the goals of the institution as a whole.” Assessment is designed to answer the questions:
- As an institutional community, how well are we collectively doing what we say we are doing?
- How do we support student learning, a fundamental aspect of institutional effectiveness?
GW envisioned a campus wide commitment to educational excellence in 2001 when it adopted an education-focused Strategic Plan for Academic Excellence that stressed ambitious learning goals and metrics for assessing them. The Middle States accreditation review in 2008 affirmed assessment of classroom learning, course outcomes, and program effectiveness as a primary tool for attaining excellence. A Campus Assessment Coordinating Council, with representatives from each of GW’s academic schools, was appointed in spring, 2010, and will regularly review the implementation of assessment in each school and across the University.
Within these pages, you will find a description of GW’s recent assessment efforts, and links to five spheres of assessment, which include institutional, program, course, general education, and co-curricular assessment. The program assessment and course assessment sections have toolkits to assist programs and individual faculty to develop systematic learning goals and outcomes and effective assessment measures and teaching techniques.