Assessment is the systematic collection, review, and use of information for the purpose of seeking continuous improvement.  In the assessment process, units identify goals they wish to accomplish, measure objectives to attain their goals, and use the collected results to develop recommendations for self-improvement.

All Carson-Newman University campus stakeholders benefit from assessment.

Students benefit when academic programs, student support services, and administrative units are continuously improved.

Administrative units, schools, departments, and programs benefit by identifying areas for improvement and undertaking the necessary actions.

The university as a whole benefits as the assessment process demonstrates to internal and external stakeholders that the university is committed to seeking improvement to the student educational experience.

A “goal” is a big picture, general expectation.

Program goals are statements identifying any aim of the program that is not related to student learning.

Department or Administrative unit goals are broad statements identifying any aims or “big picture” items that the department or administrative unit wants to accomplish.

An expected outcome/target is a specific and detailed statement of intent or purpose that the academic program or administrative unit expects to achieve.  Expected outcomes/targets must be measurable and aligned with the stated goals.

Results are the data resulting form the assessment measures and are used to determine whether the expected outcome/target was successfully met.  Results should be detailed and clearly define what was discovered in order to identify areas for improvement.

Recommendations for improvement are the next steps to be taken in the following assessment cycle in response to the assessment results.  Recommendations for improvement should be driven by assessment results for that particular objective and should explicitly relate to improving that objective.

Yes!  The process of assessment is not one in which the process is merely self-congratulatory, nor is it a means for the program or administrative unit to document only the areas in which they are successful.  Programs and administrative units are expected to examine what is important to their success and honestly report the level to which they are accomplishing their goals.

Direct Measures are instruments, processes, or mechanisms used to determine whether an objective was actually met, and provide concrete evidence of the degree of attainment of an objective.  Examples include exams, papers, projects, observations, performances, etc.

Indirect Measures are instruments used to determine whether an objective was perceived to have been met and provides indirect evidence of the degree of attainment of an objective.  Examples include surveys that ask students or alums how well they thought they learned, tracks graduate data, etc.

Carson-Newman faculty and staff will find assessment forms and checklists on EagleNet.

EagleNet > Faculty and Staff Documents > Assessment Forms

Please contact the Office of Institutional Effectiveness with your questions: (865) 471-3219