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 Statement of Principles* for Assessment

The following principles have been formulated to guide the assessment activities at North Dakota State University (NDSU). These activities are built upon the intended student outcomes identified by the unit** for programs.

1.     The purpose of assessment is to improve student learning and development by identifying the intended student outcomes for each program, providing feedback on the progress toward these outcomes, and using the feedback to modify aspects of the programs to ensure that the outcomes are being achieved and student learning is improved. 

2.     Assessment examines both the product (quality education) and the process (how achieved).

3.   Assessment plans use multiple approaches to assessment including both quantitative and qualitative data, and multiple indicators of effectiveness that reflect the complexity of the goals of higher education and the diversity of the NDSU campus.

4.     Effective assessment depends upon clearly stated, assessable outcomes; data collected which are meaningful, valuable, and accurate; data which are analyzed, not merely tabulated; and results that are communicated. Unit assessment activities are "driven" by the unit-identified outcomes. 

5.     Assessment demands a holistic approach to students and student development. 

6.     Assessment plans, where possible and appropriate, make use of existing databases and evaluation programs already in place, e.g., information of admissions, retention, and completion, results from surveys of students, alumni, and employers, findings of accreditation agencies, institutional program reviews, etc. 

7.     Instruments used for assessment are expected to measure the intended student outcomes determined by the faculty to be important for each program with acceptable levels of technical quality, e.g., validity, reliability, etc. 

8.     Faculty and students are to be involved in the development of assessment plans, in their implementation, and in the continuing efforts to use assessment to improve institutional and student performance.

9.   Assessment resides in the unit; ownership for effective teaching lies with the teacher; responsibility for learning lies with the student.

10.  Effective assessment provides feedback to students and units with implications for improvement. 

11.  Students will participate in assessment activities. (This will be so noted in the University bulletin and in orientation programs.) 

12.  Assessment results will be used for program improvement. Such results will not be used to penalize students or faculty. Student performance on assessment instruments will not become part of the transcript. Assessment is to be used to demonstrate current levels of achievement and to improve future performance. 

13.  Effective assessment is continuous, creating a self-correcting loop of experimentation and measurement. Choices about what/when/how to assess are continuously reviewed. 

14.  Units include assessment of student performance and satisfaction at appropriate times during college and of alumni after graduation. 

15.  Units will provide annual reports of assessment activities to the University Assessment Committee on the level of performance and trends over time, especially in relation to institutional outcomes. These reports will include changes in programs and activities that result from problems or possibilities identified in prior reports. 

16.  Assessment feeds into planning, continuous improvement, and institutional and unit resource allocations. 

*  Principles are defined as fundamental beliefs, determining characteristics. 
**The unit is defined as the program or department.

Approved by University Assessment Committee 


Last update: July 26, 2006 4:20 PM

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Accreditation, Assessment, and Academic Advising
North Dakota State University
Phone: +1 (701) 231-6671
Campus address: Morrill 213
Mailing address: Dept 2010, PO Box 6050
Fargo, ND 58108-6050
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Last Updated: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 8:27:10 PM