Leading Assessment: From Faculty Reluctance to Faculty Engagement
Academic Leadership - Online Journal,
Vol. 7 No. 1 (2006): Vol-7-Issue-1-January-2006
Assessing college student learning consumes substantial energy, driven or encouraged by accrediting
bodies, the Federal and state governments, and other stakeholders. One might think, for these reasons
as well as the longevity assessment has displayed as a movement, that it would be celebrating its
many successes in transforming higher education.
Yet while it has outlasted many other higher education reforms, assessment of student learning
(arguably) seems to have stalled as a vehicle for transforming higher education. Yes, data collection is
happening in many places and there are pockets of excellence (e.g., Alverno College, Truman State),
but assessment is hardly a mature endeavor, tied in to the planning and budgeting processes, retention
and tenure expectations, or the culture of much of higher education (Wright 2002). Much assessment
focuses on student satisfaction and post-college success (as opposed to actual learning), while few
investigations of learning address high-level or complex cognitive skills (Peterson and Vaughan 2002).