The materials gathered here document the creation and development of a successful, energetic culture of assessment necessary to improve student learning through ongoing programmatic evaluation and change in curriculum and instruction. For more than a decade, academic departments and student life offices have been working to articulate program outcomes and course learning objectives, developing appropriate instruments and processes necessary to engage in effective formative assessment.
We have been successful to this point due to the shared conviction among faculty and staff that the primary mission of the university is teaching and scholarship. We are also convinced that the effective evaluation of those activities must emerge from the disciplines that house them. Those who have dedicated themselves to this effort have done so for two reasons: (1) We are convinced that we are best qualified to articulate the goals of our programs and to determine how student achievement of these goals can be most accurately assessed; and (2) We believe that the process involved in discussing goals and modes of assessment can help us all improve the programs we offer, as well as the teaching and learning that occurs at Slippery Rock University.
The result of our work has been the emergence of a successful “bottom-up” culture of assessment, created by the commitment of faculty and staff to continuously improve the programs they implement, and not through a process imposed upon faculty and staff by an administrator placed in charge of “assessment.” The progress we have made as been slow, and sometimes uneven, the elusive “buy in” necessary for effective assessment actually exists at Slippery Rock University, the proof of which can be found in the documents housed on this site, detailing a faculty-driven process that is working to “close the loop,” resulting in an ongoing effort to improve student learning, the university’s programmatic offerings, and its educational practices.