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A Message from Cheryl Beil
Associate Provost for Academic Planning and Assessment
As faculty members, scholars, and teachers our life work engages us in constant assessment. We evaluate our research and that of our colleagues, the work of our students, the effectiveness of our teaching strategies. Much of this evaluation is informal as we daily ask ourselves why something worked, or didn’t, how we can do it better, why it’s worth doing.
Assessment is basically the process of systematically gathering evidence to help us shape, refine, and ultimately support the conclusions we reach as we ask ourselves these questions. It is, in effect, an academic process like all others that depends on accurate primary data and the application of a consistent process of analysis. Effective, ongoing assessment makes a valuable contribution to successful teaching, as it does to powerful research. Effective, ongoing assessment is also a condition of continued accreditation for programs and for the University as a whole.
The mandate of our office is to help faculty prepare powerful assessment instruments for their programs, review assessment reports and give helpful feedback, and integrate these assessment reports so that they can best serve the interests of the individual programs and the university in achieving our mutual goals of academic excellence. To that end, we have provided some background on assessment at GW and a number of useful tools to help faculty and their departments on this website.
We hope you will find the website useful. If you have any questions or concerns please contact me or our assessment coordinator at email@example.com.
THE INSTITUTIONAL NEED FOR 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. It further mandates that institutions must use the results of the assessment to improve student learning. Assessment is designed to answer the questions:
- As an institutional community, how well are we collectively doing what we say we are doing?
- And, how do we support student learning, a fundamental aspect of institutional effectiveness?
THE ASSESSMENT OF STUDENT LEARNING AT GW
Assessment of student learning is not limited to the classroom. At GW, assessment is carried out in a variety of institutional locations. While individual faculty assess student learning through assignments, exams, and classroom interactions, Department Chairs and Program Directors assess the overall effectiveness of their programs, and administrators are responsible for institutional and co-curricular assessment.
ANNUAL PROGRAM ASSESSMENT
Every degree program in the University is responsible for formulating learning outcomes and conducting annual reviews of some element of the academic program. These are included in annual reports to the academic deans. Departments and programs rely on annual program assessments for long-term planning and as the basis for self-assessment in the Academic Program Reviews (APR) required every five years.
INSTITUTIONAL AND CO-CURRICULAR ASSESSMENT
The effectiveness of GW’s co-curricular and extra-curricular experiences is assessed by the relevant administrators and coordinated by the Office of the Associate Provost. The Office of Academic Planning and Assessment (APA) also coordinates administrative planning and manages connections between administrative and academic planning groups. The Associate Provost, Cheryl Beil, serves as GW’s official liaison with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.