In the past, academe has typically answered the question in two ways: grades and degrees.Students receive a grade for each class they take; and, if students complete university and program requirements, they receive a degree.
These answers, however, raise other questions. How does the grade for the course specifically measure the student’s progress in meeting the instructor’s learning goals for the course? How does the course fit into the larger program? What co-curricular activities support student learning? With what levels of achievement are the program’s faculty members satisfied? What are the students’ strengths and weaknesses upon completing the program? Are students prepared for vocations or graduate work? Has WJU met its larger goal of “preparing Christians for leadership and service in church and society, through Christian higher education, spiritual formation, and directed experiences”?
Simply put, assessment is about integrity and stewardship. Are we accomplishing the goals we say we have set out to achieve? Are we employing our human, material and financial resources wisely? Are we accountable to our students and our constituents? The aim of assessment is to provide useful feedback to the professor, the program, and the administration so that improvements can be made.
Student learning at Jessup is regularly assessed by means of two embedded practices—an annual assessment of University Learning Goals (see next page), with each goal assessed institution-wide every five years, and regular program review by each academic school and department, again in a five-year cycle. The following pages describe the process and includes the necessary reporting forms.