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Assessment at ISU

Definition and Purposes of Assessment

Assessment is a collaborative process through which we devise means to understand and then to improve student learning and achieve other program/unit objectives.Because ISU recognizes that learning occurs throughout the curriculum and co-curriculum, it established an Assessment Council comprising representatives from each vice-presidential area. The Council conducts its activities in recognition of the faculty responsibility for student learning and in a context of shared governance. The Council also works with non‐academic areas to ensure that unit assessment is performed on a periodic basis and results in continuous improvement. Its plan to ensure the systematic, ongoing assessment of learning outcomes in both academic and non-academic programs is consistent with the Higher Learning Commission's requirement that

The institution demonstrates responsibility for the quality of its educational programs, learning environments, and support services, and it evaluates their effectiveness for student learning through processes designed to promote continuous improvement. (Criterion Four, Teaching and Learning: Evaluation and Improvement)

At ISU, the purposes of assessment include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • To increase student achievement in both curricular and co-curricular areas.
  • To ensure the integrity of awarded degrees.
  • To evaluate and document the competence of graduates of Indiana State University.
  • To focus the institutional mission on the level and quality of student achievement.
  • To improve instruction, curriculum, and other teaching‐related activities.
  • To improve service, effectiveness, and other operational activities.
  • To promote faculty and staff development.
  • To improve programs, program planning, and development.
  • To facilitate articulation of the University’s core learning outcomes. 

Guiding Principles

ISU is committed to realizing a culture of assessment that includes:

  • A unified, coherent, and systematic program that includes clearly defined objectives and outcomes developed by the faculty and staff and is consistent with the institutional mission.
  • A recognition that responsibility for the development of assessment procedures, methods, and intervention/alterations based on results is held by the faculty and staff of ISU and should be consistent with and complementary to broader institutional efforts.
  • A recognition that assessment is intended to assess student learning, not individual faculty and staff performance.
  • An emphasis on continuous improvement through a process of gathering, interpreting and using information to improve student achievement and support services.

Assessment of Foundational Studies (General Education)

At ISU, responsibility for the assessment and improvement of Foundational Studies rests with the committee charged with the guidance of that program. Within that framework, Foundational Studies conducts assessment with at least two purposes in mind: 1) to determine whether students are achieving the educational goals of the program; and 2) to improve instruction and to increase student academic achievement through a process of systematic feedback to faculty, academic programs, and the administration. Currently, ISU is participating in the Higher Learning Commission's Assessment Academy, a facilitated four-year process focusing on students' achievement of four Foundational Studies learning outcomes: Written communication, oral communication, critical thinking, and quantitative literacy. Details about the project are available here.

Assessment of Graduate Programs 

The College of Graduate and Professional Studies and the Graduate Council have recognized a core set of five student learning outcomes required of all graduate programs (See Assurance of Student Learning – Graduate Education at Indiana State University). The stated purpose of that initiative (and related processes) “is to enable programs and the broader community of the graduate faculty to reflect on and discuss the overall quality of the student learning experience and to identify strategies (curricular or co‐curricular) for program improvement.” Departments report on their graduate programs' attainment of these objectives in their assessment plans.