Academic Assessment

Pursuant to the mission statement and guided by the vision statement, Benedictine University creates a community of scholars who are committed to Learning, Scholarship, Service and Diversity.

In her book Assessment Clear and Simple, Barbara E. Walvoord defines assessment of student learning as "the systematic collection of information about student learning, using the time, knowledge, expertise and resources available, in order to inform decisions about how to improve learning."  The academic assessment process at Benedictine University is consistent with this and founded on nine principles of good practice in order to foster and improve student learning.  As part of the practice of effective teaching, all faculty have the responsibility for assessing their own courses.  Numerous measures are employed to assist in this process, producing direct and indirect "evidence" of learning.  For example, the IDEA Form provides useful indirect feedback from students about teaching effectiveness, progress on course learning objectives, and a norm-referenced framework for comparisons.

The program learning objectives are aligned with the University common learning objectives; each academic program demonstrates alignment using a Program Assessment Matrix tool.  As part of the Matrix, each program identifies the key program direct and indirect outcomes, or what the students should be able to represent, demonstrate or produce as a result of their learning in the program/department.

Based on program specific priorities, generally two to four KEY assessment approaches/tools that mark the achievement of the student learning outcomes/objectives are targeted annually by the department for potential improvements. At the end of the term, participating faculty members (i.e., those that teach the courses where those identified assessment approaches/tools are employed) provide Department Chairs/Program Directors supporting narratives and data (with analysis) of how their own course specific pedagogy changes/improvements impacted the intended learner objectives/outcomes, and next steps for improvement. Department Chairs/Program Directors evaluate these results against program established benchmarks/goals and submit an Annual Program Assessment Report, which includes a plan of priorities for implementation for the following year (guidelines posted on the S drive). Collectively, department members should ensure that all program objectives/outcomes are examined at least once over the program review period (e.g., five years).

In addition to the substantial efforts made by departments/programs, as part of university planning, we have the following student surveys and tests scheduled for administration on the following cycles:

  • Career Development Survey to alumni - annual
  • National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) - every three years
  • Mission Perception Survey - every three years
  • Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) - every three years
  • Writing Exams (internal) - annually
  • Operations/service satisfaction surveys (service queried may vary) - at least once annually
  • Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP) Freshmen Survey - every three years
Assessment Methods: Handbook


The following handbooks and workbooks were designed for faculty.  They provide guidelines for developing assessment plans, defining learning outcomes/objectives, and selecting appropriate assessment methods.  Unique attributes are noted.

Course Based Review and Assessment Handbook
Office of Academic Planning and Assessment, University of Massachusetts, Overview of course based assessment provided in this 54-page Handbook, included various classroom assessment techniques, methods of student engagement, collection and analysis then interpretation and reporting of data.

Program Based Review and Assessment Handbook
Office of Academic Planning and Assessment, University of Massachusetts, Overview of program review provided in this 64-page Handbook, including explanation of various assessment methods and sources of data for program assessments, curriculum mapping, and timelines.

Assessment Workbook
Offices of Academic Assessment & Institutional Research, Ball State University.  This online workbook describes the use and strengths of different methods, including tests, surveys, performance-based assessments, and "how-to" use institutional data for program assessment purposes.

Assessment Methods: Rubric Creators


Rubrics are useful for evaluating performance-based assessment activities, including projects such as case studies, lesson plans, laboratory reports, and thesis/manuscripts.  Rubrics can provide consistency in grading between students, over time, and between instructors.  They can provide guidance to students.  The link below is for a gateway; this page provides link to subject specific and skills rubrics, rubric creators, and related articles.

The following links allow you to create rubrics for free, as well as search for other examples if you are increasing your skill in developing these tools.