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What is assessment?

Data is often collected in higher education to make improvements, inform practice, and understand patterns; all in an effort to better the student experience. Assessment is the intentional and systematic process of data collection, review, and use of information for the improvement of programs, services, and facilities. Assessment involves two primary components (1) the gathering of student information or measurement and (2) the use and application of information to influence decisions about our work with students. The data collected in Student Affairs through assessment can take multiple forms both qualitatively and quantitatively though tracking use, understanding the needs of students, measuring satisfaction, exploring impact, and measuring student learning, to name a few.

assessment cycle

Often assessment is described as a process that is enacted through cycle of continuous improvement with individual components that inform the next step in the process. Assessment does not end with a report of findings, but continues with further conversations and assessment on any improvements made. This visual represents the primary steps involved and how we strive to approach assessment in Student Affairs at UIC:

  1. Establish goals and outcomes
  2. Deliver purposeful programs and services
  3. Collect data associated with programs and services
  4. Review, interpret, and share the results
  5. Apply the results in decision making processes to improve programs and services