Assessment

Assessment is an iterative process used by faculty and staff to support teaching, learning, and program delivery.  The process is rooted in inquiry about what and how well students are learning.  Accrediting bodies recognize assessment as an essential responsibility of faculty, staff, and administrators for demonstrating commitment to educational opportunity and improvement.

Assessment focuses on four basic questions:

  1. What do we want students to know or be able to do after completing an educational activity?
  2. Is the educational activity structured to ensure students have an opportunity to achieve the desired learning outcome?
  3. What information would we need to understand what and how well students are learning?
  4. How can we use the information we collect to support teaching, learning, and program delivery?

The Office of Assessment works with faculty, staff, and students to promote effective assessment practice by developing policies and procedures, leading assessment initiatives, and providing resources and training.  Assessment at UNC is guided by a set of principles developed by the University Assessment Council with campus-wide input from faculty, staff, and students.

Guiding Principles for Assessment

  • Guided By Mission

    Assessment of student learning is guided by UNC's mission (including UNC’s vision, values, purposes, and goals) and the missions of individual programs.

  • Institutionally Supported

    Assessment is most effective when the university provides resources for assessment activities, such as professional development, financial support, technology, and mechanisms for sharing assessment data.

  • Improve Teaching and Learning

    The primary goal of assessment of student learning is for faculty and staff to improve teaching and learning at the course and program levels.

  • Use of Results

    Assessment of student learning results are valuable for highlighting excellence; improving teaching and learning; making evidence-based decisions; and informing planning, policy, and resource decisions.

  • Faculty/Staff Driven

    Assessment of student learning is most effective when it is owned and driven by the faculty and staff in a program/unit.

  • Student Involvement

     Students serve as a primary stakeholder in assessment of student learning. As a student-centered institution, UNC strives to find opportunities to involve students in assessment of student learning efforts.

  • Collaborative Effort

    Assessment is most effective as a community effort involving faculty, staff, students, administrators, and the community. Assessment fosters more systemic improvement of teaching and learning when representatives from across the educational community are involved in assessment activities.

  • Useful and Meaningful

    Assessment of student learning is most effective when it focuses on issues that faculty, staff, and students find meaningful and when it produces evidence that faculty, staff, and students find useful.

  • Manageable and Sustainable

    Effective assessment is manageable and sustainable when it is designed to align with available human and financial resources.

  • Assessment is Ongoing

    Assessment is most effective when it is an ongoing activity that is part of the regular operations of a program/unit, rather than a sporadic endeavor.

  • Use of Best Practices

    Assessment is most effective when best practices for assessing student learning guide the work.

  • Transparent

    The UNC community is committed to being transparent to internal and external stakeholders about how assessment of student learning is conducted and how the results are used.