Principles of Student Learning Outcomes Assessment*

These revised principles are informed by the American Association of Higher Education’s “9 Principles of Good Practice for Assessing Student Learning” which we endorse.

The original principles of assessment were re-visited by the College Senate at the request of the Provost and the Sr. Advisor to the Provost for Assessment.  These principles constitute Buffalo State’s philosophy of assessment and guide academic assessment plans:

  1. The primary goal of assessment at Buffalo State College is the improvement of the academic experience of our students. In this context, assessment at Buffalo State refers to a process of understanding the phenomena and outcomes of student learning, as well as clarifying goals and enhancing student performance and program effectiveness.

  2. The primary purposes of assessment are: to promote the self-assessment of departments or general education areas; to foster the improvement of the curriculum;  to provide continuous feedback about and from our graduates; to promote an exchange among faculty so as to insure that their efforts are converging; and to provide additional justification for resources necessary to address deficiencies or gaps if they are identified in an area of the curriculum.

  3. For the purposes of this document, the focus of review and assessment will be the entire major or general education area, not specific classes, faculty, or students.

  4. The methods of ascertaining the achievement of curricular goals will be left to the faculty’s discretion.  Such methods should, however, be measurable (i.e. data are regularly gathered according to established criteria and with consistent standards) and based on results of faculty discussions.  Internally, the assessment process will contribute to the examination and improvement of curriculum.

  5. The assessment plan developed and implemented at Buffalo State will seek to integrate and incorporate existing efforts within the faculties and to utilize existing procedures and processes.

  6. Assessment efforts at all levels should reflect the mission and goals, as well as the diversity of programs at Buffalo State.

  7. Assessment activities at Buffalo State should be based on multiple approaches and multiple indices.  Ideally, they will include value added measures (assessment before and after instruction.)

  8. The results of assessment activities will only be used at the campus level to enhance the mission of programs and departments.  Assessment results will never be used to punish or embarrass students, faculty, courses, programs or departments, either individually or collectively.

  9. Stringent guidelines will be developed and adhered to in order to insure that confidentiality of assessment data is maintained.

  10. Public comparisons and proposals based upon data from assessment results will be made using scientifically valid methodologies.

  11. Assessment activities will be used for program assessment only and will not by themselves be used to establish requirements for students to enter, progress through or graduate from a program.

  12. Departments are mandated to share with the academic administration of the campus only their ongoing process of assessment and a summary of the results in aggregate form, which may also complement requests for needed resources.  A common reporting format will be used.

  13. Departments and campus administration may share assessment reports with appropriate groups, including accrediting agencies and system administration.

    * These revised principles were presented to the College Senate 2/08/02 and will be officially voted upon at the next meeting on 3/08/02