Why is Assessment Important?
For working adults, choosing a higher education institution is about more than school reputation. It’s one of the biggest investments of your life. You need to know that the time, money, and effort you invest will have a direct and lasting impact on your career.
Until now, the professional impact of higher education has been hard to show as most data were housed locally and not easily available or reported in a transparent fashion.
As a founding member of the multi-institution Transparency by Design initiative, we’ve been developing and refining an academic accountability strategy since 2007. This initiative focuses on educational institutions that offer degrees for adult learners.
Our assessment plan is multi-faceted and multi-dimensional involving current learners, recent graduates/alumni, employers, and affiliate faculty members. Through the collection of a myriad of data points, we’re better able to understand and answer questions about student learning.
Institutional Level Assessment
Institutional level assessment includes facts about degrees earned along with learner demographics. It includes items such as current learner satisfaction and engagement, exit surveys of current graduates, as well as faculty perceptions of learner engagement. This body of data can be found in the Measuring the Learning Experience section of our web site. That’s where you will also find an overview of our institutional efforts concerning benchmarking.
Program Level Assessment
Program level assessment is all about clearly defining what success looks like in a particular field… and then working backward to develop the most direct educational path to that success. In the world of higher education, it’s a revolutionary approach. But to us, it’s the only one that makes sense.
How do we do it? First, we partner with faculty members who are experts in their professional fields. We also spend time learning what employers expect from their best employees. We ask employers and faculty to identify:
- The knowledge, skills, and experience needed to excel in their field
- How they define success in their profession
We use those insights to focus our academic programs on specific, measurable expectations called program learning outcomes. Then, we make it easy for you to see how those clearly defined outcomes apply to your learning experience and your career.