Office of Academic Assessment
GUIDING PRINCIPLES OF OUTCOMES ASSESSMENT
(From the UNI Student Outcomes Assessment Policy)
The process of assessing student outcomes at the University of Northern Iowa will be guided by a number of important principles. The NASULGC [National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges] principles have been adopted by the Board of Regents and will apply to all three institutions. Additional principles have been suggested by the Board Office in correspondence to those involved in setting institutional policy. The remaining principles have been gathered from a variety of sources and are intended to apply to assessment at UNI.
GENERAL PRINCIPLES AND ASSUMPTIONS
*Although teaching is a major element of assessment, student learning remains the primary responsibility of the student.
*Campus climate is critical to effective teaching and learning.
*There are two sets of skills and competencies that students must learn, a minimum set and an additional set of desired skills which enable the student to strive for excellence. Assessment must accumulate data not only on these minimum basic outcomes, but must also measure the degree to which programs impart the skills required for excellence.
*For assessment to succeed students must: see the value of the process, participate sincerely, and believe that the process will result in improvements.
*Data collected through assessment should be governed by recognized codes of ethics relating to human subjects research.
*Outcomes assessment requires resources, especially when faculty time and effort are required.
*Faculty will not participate effectively and outcomes assessment is unlikely to be successful if faculty suspect that assessment results will be incorporated in the faculty reward structure. However, faculty must be rewarded for their [service] work on the assessment process.
*A major purpose of outcomes assessment is to build habits of inquiry and a culture of evidence about student learning.
*Successful assessment requires leadership and support throughout the university, as well as integrity and accountability from those administering the program.
*The assessment program itself must be evaluated periodically.
*Outcomes assessment may be based on either a census or a sample of students.
Interdisciplinary programs such as general education, the business core, and the professional sequence in education will be assessed by committees involving faculty from the affected departments.