What is Assessment?

We mean by “assessment” “the systematic collection, analysis, interpretation, and use of information to understand and improve teaching and learning” (Tom Angelo).

What is Assessment NOT for?

Different institutions may, of course, use the tools of learning assessment differently. It will help to clarify the nature of Tech’s commitment to learning assessment to specify some of the possible purposes of assessment that we will exclude from our approach.

  • We will not use assessment as an end in itself. Assessment that does not help us to promote student learning is a waste of time.
  • We will not use assessment of student learning punitively or as a means of determining faculty or staff salaries or rewards. The purpose of assessment is to evaluate student learning, not to reward or punish faculty or staff.
  • We will not use any single mode of assessment to answer all questions or strictly determine program decisions.
  • We will not use assessment in a way that will impinge upon the academic freedom or professional rights of faculty. Individual faculty members must continue to exercise their best professional judgment in matters of grading and discipline.
  • We will not assume that assessment can answer all questions about all students. We need not directly assess all students in order to learn about the effectiveness of our programs and policies.
  • We will not assume that assessment is quantitative. While numerical scales or rubrics (such as the four-point grading scale) can be useful, their accuracy always depends on the clear understanding of the concepts behind the numbers. Often the best indicator of student learning can be expressed better as a narrative or a performance than as a number.
  • We will not use assessment only to evaluate the end of the student’s experience or merely to be accountable to outside parties. Assessment must be ongoing observation of what we believe is important.
  • We will not assume that assessment is only grading.

How will we use Assessment?

The following guidelines will govern the methodology and approach we will employ at Tech for institutional assessment:

  • We will always seek multiple judgments of student learning rather than a single standard.
  • We will assess those skills and knowledge that our faculty, in consultation with the entire Institute community, judges to be important and valuable.
  • We will assess the ongoing progress of students throughout their experience at the Institute.

What does the Office of Academic Effectiveness assess?

OOAE assess student outcomes (student retention and graduation, skills and abilities, satisfaction with their Georgia Tech experience and its results, etc.), and factors that may affect outcomes (students’ backgrounds, educational goals, involvement in campus activities, employment while studying, etc.) so that we can understand and improve our students’ outcomes. Most importantly, OOAE assesses various aspects of institutional effectiveness.

Who does the Office of Academic Effectiveness survey?

  • New freshmen
  • Graduating seniors (Exit surveys)
  • Graduating seniors (at Commencement)
  • Alumni who have received bachelor’s degrees from Georgia Tech
  • Alumni who have received graduate degrees from Georgia Tech
  • Employers of the bachelors’-degree alumni
  • Employers of the graduates’-degree alumni
  • Co-op students and their supervisors
  • Recruiters
  • Faculty, staff and administrators