Foundational Statement: What is Assessment in Higher Education? (Adopted January 2020)

Assessment is the process of collecting and analyzing information to determine if progress is being made toward a desired end. While this broad definition is applicable to a range of goals and organizational contexts, AALHE focuses on the assessment of student learning and institutional effectiveness within the context of higher education.

Student learning outcomes assessment is a process in which members of the higher education community identify what students should be able to do by the end of an educational unit and determine the degree to which they meet these goals. It also requires us to consider how to use the information systematically gathered on student performance to improve the teaching/learning process.

Institutional effectiveness assessment focuses on the extent to which an institution is making progress towards its mission and vision. When engaged in this process, members of the higher education community use the information collected to inform action taken for improvement.

The aim of student learning assessment and institutional effectiveness assessment is the ongoing enhancement of quality. AALHE supports these efforts in quality improvement by promoting assessment not just “of learning" but more importantly “for learning.”

Members of the Writing Team

Sesime Adanu SUNY Broome Community College
Jason Brunner University of Colorado School of Pharmacy
Jodi Fisler State Council of Higher Education for Virginia
Robert Flaherty United States Air Force Academy

Cynthia Howell

Capella University
Jill Kern Eastern Washington University
Karen Menard University of Guelph
Jeremy Penn University of Iowa College of Education
Jane Marie Souza University of Rochester
Constance Tucker Oregon Health & Science University
Erin Thomas Illinois State University
Felix Wao University of Oklahoma
Bob Wilkinson Wartburg College