Assessment at NKU is defined as a process by which information is gathered on university operations and student learning to be evaluated for the purpose of improvement of student experiences and improved operational efficiencies. At NKU, assessment is viewed as an inquiry process that supports the university’s commitment to institutional effectiveness and excellence in student learning and teaching. Assessment could also be viewed as an advocacy process. Assessment allows areas (e.g., degree programs, administrative areas, etc.) to show their effectiveness and demonstrate how additional resources could be used to expand capacity based on actual outcomes. Assessment at NKU is identified through six guiding principles:
- Integrated: Rather than view assessment as an isolated task or a series of hoops, assessment at NKU is an organic and integrated process aiming to yield real insights into student learning, and whether we have achieved success in meeting student learning outcomes, and improving their educational experiences.
- Collaborative: Assessment at NKU is not a one person job but rather a process that aims to promote dialogue and conversations among appropriate constituents (e.g., faculty members, administrative units’ personnel etc.) in order to sustain a shared culture of continuous improvement and to better serve the students.
- Valuable: Assessment is something we owe ourselves and our students; it enables us to understand that we are not just “spinning our wheels.” What we learn about our courses, our programs, and our operations can be significant, and that knowledge can impact and contribute to student success.
- Ongoing and Coherent: Assessment does not stop but continues to build upon itself and the knowledge obtained. It employs consistent methods and reporting techniques across semesters and years to reduce variables and ensure transparency.
- A Path to Improvement: Only through comprehensive and reflective assessment can we make sure we are providing our students with the best experiences. Assessment not only also supports NKU quality control efforts but is also an integral part of program accreditation and reviews.
- A Hallmark of a Strong University: A continuing and comprehensive assessment allows decision-making about educational programs/units to be data-informed and defendable. Assessment provides critical information for ensuring programs and services are meeting the needs of our students and the community.