1999 Annual Report
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
This appendix identifies common misperceptions about outcomes assessment that are typically encountered at any institution engaging in an outcomes assessment process. Accompanying each misperception is a clarification correcting the misperception.
Quantitative measurement is the only acceptable method for collecting data and to conduct good assessment a department must do a lot of “number crunching”.
Clarification: A variety of methods both qualitative and quantitative can be used to collect evidence about student learning. A program should use those methods that their discipline finds most familiar and appropriate.
Evidence collected is used for accountability.
Clarification: UNL's outcomes assessment process should be about improvement and not accountability (unless a department decides to use it as such). A college/department should collect outcomes assessment evidence that addresses programmatic learning issues they are interested in and they consider critical to their future success. Once collected this evidence should be used by a department to formally appraise and document for itself how the department contributes to and could improve student learning. At the time of the Academic Program Review or Accreditation, this documentation can help highlight those contributions as well as indicate areas of improvement.
In order to assess student learning appropriately an additional measurement process has to be created outside of the information already obtained in the curriculum (i.e. course assignment, program portfolios, etc.).
Clarification: When a department is trying to determine the best way to measure a learning outcome they should first look at what products already exist before creating new assessments.
The exercise of assessment only needs to be conducted by an individual faculty member or a committee. There is no need for other faculty in a program to be involved.
Clarification: In order for the assessment process to address important issues and result in significant conclusions it is important for all faculty to participate in the discussion of results and what they may mean in terms of student learning.