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The Center for the Enhancement of Learning, Teaching, and University Assessment

What is assessment and why should students care about it?

Your Work May be Used For Assessment

Assessment is the process of:

  • focusing on educational outcomes,
  • analyzing how well we are reaching them,
  • and making changes to better serve our students.

Assessment helps Miami to:

  • learn about students’ experiences,
  • to know whether or not our students are gaining the skills they need to succeed,
  • and to improve our curricular and co-curricular offerings.

As an institution, we collect this information in a number of different ways.

  • Some is collected by means of surveys or from questions on course evaluations.
  • In addition to surveys, instructors and departments use assessment of student written work and other performances to determine if students are achieving the learning outcomes for a course or the desired outcomes in the major. In some of your courses, instructors will collect your work for assessment purposes.

In addition to being evaluated by your course instructor, this academic work may be:

  • viewed by designated Miami University personnel to gauge broader program achievement within Miami University;
  • short quotations from your work that do not identify you may be included in assessment reports;
  • Any work that can be connected with you will not be shared with a public audience nor will it be used for other purposes, such as published research, without your explicit written consent.

Assessment data is used by the university to determine how effective we are at cultivating successful students and achieving learning goals, not to evaluate your work as an individual student.

Assessment is a way to learn about the experiences of students.

We all have ideas about "Miami Students," but how do we know what Miami students are REALLY like? We learn about who Miami students are, what is important to them, and what they think about their college experiences by asking them questions and listening to the answers. For example, did you know that:

  • Compared to students at other universities, Miami students are more likely to receive mentorship and guidance from faculty (College Student Survey, 2010).

  • Miami seniors report that they are much more prepared for employment and graduate education compared with when they first entered college (College Student Survey, 2010).

  • Many incoming Miami students don't feel confident that they'll be able to regularly participate in class discussions, and half are worried that managing their time will be difficult (BCSSE, 2009). Rinella Learning Center provides time management and other study skills support.

  • Here is a short statement from Natalie Daumeyer regarding the Honors e-portfolio process. We are grateful to be able to share her statement about the usefulness of reflective practices that allow programs to continually improve to help their students learn better. "I think people tend to assume that creating an E-portfolio is additional work, when really it's just taking what you've learned and recognizing it. By reflecting on what you've learned you take your education to a whole new level. It goes from surface facts and skills to deeper understanding and as this happens the learner gains a tremendous amount of insight."

Assessment is a way for Miami to improve students' educational and cocurricular experiences and to highlight our successes.

  • Between 2006 and 2011, Miami redesigned many of its large enrollment courses (the "Top 25 courses") and used a variety of assessments to create the best courses possible. Students say the redesigned courses are more engaging and challenging than before.

  • Because of student responses on the CIRP and Mental Health Surveys, Miami hired additional mental health staff in 2007.

Assessment is a way to understand how your college years relate to your future.

When your major specifies "here are the four things we want you to be able to do by the time you leave here," you know that they have your back. You know they are targeting your educational experiences to the kinds of skills that employers want.

For more about why students and parents should care about assessment, please see this video from Brigham Young University called, "Expected Learning Outcomes" and also Miami's Student Success Plan.

For more information about undergrad experiences see Undergrad Learning and Teaching and the Engaged University.

Find out more about the various assessment projects at Miami at CELTUA assessment.

Thanks for sharing your experiences with us by responding to surveys!

To learn more about the types of surveys in which Miami participates, including the results of those surveys, visit the Office of Institutional Research.

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