Assessment Myths and Misconceptions

  • Assessment has been common for over 30 years
  • It has been an accreditation emphasis for at least 25 years
  • It has been a formal expectation of all regional accreditors since 2004.
  • All departments, academic and non-academic, impact student learning.
  • Assessment of student learning is a means of increasing the mutual engagement of faculty, students, and staff in providing an optimal learning experience. 
  • Assessment is a collaborative effort.
  • Academic assessment is a tool for faculty members to improve student learning. It should be faculty initiated, driven, and supervised.
  • Non-academic assessment is a tool for staff to improve institutional/program/office effectiveness. 
  • First and foremost, assessment is about improving student learning and advancing the university.
  • All departments, academic and non-academic, impact student learning.
  • To that end, accrediting organizations expect institutions to perform assessment. 
  • Desired outcomes (course, program, and institutional) may not be measured by the grading process.
  • Many variables affect grades (participation, for example). Individual assignments have objectives that may only tangentially connect with outcomes.
  • Outcomes may be developed and measured only partially in some courses.
  • An assignment or course may support multiple learning outcomes. 

  • Assessment is not about finding fault with programs, courses, or individuals. 
  • It is about collecting aggregate data that informs decision making for improvement to reach learning outcomes.
  • It should not be used to evaluate faculty and staff.
  • Resources are available to assist you through all steps of assessment at Arkansas Tech University.
  • The Assessment & Institutional Effectiveness staff are here to help you plan assessment, develop learning outcomes, goals and objectives, conduct assessments, and analyze/use results.

Previous: OVERVIEW | NEXT: WHAT IS ASSESSMENT?