What is Assessment?

Data is often collected in higher education to make improvements, inform practice, and understand patterns, all in an effort to better the student experience. Assessment is the intentional and systematic process of data collection, review, and use of information for the improvement of programs, services, and facilities.

Assessment involves two primary components: (1) the gathering of student information or measurement; and (2) the use and application of information to influence decisions about our work with students.

The data collected in Student Affairs through assessment can take multiple forms both qualitatively and quantitatively though tracking use, understanding the needs of students, measuring satisfaction, exploring impact, and measuring student learning, to name a few.

Often assessment is described as a process that is enacted through cycle of continuous improvement with individual components that inform the next step in the process. Assessment does not end with a report of findings, but continues with further conversations and assessment on any improvements made.

The primary steps involved in assessment are as follows:

  1. Establish goals and outcomes
  2. Deliver purposeful programs and services
  3. Collect data associated with programs and services
  4. Review, interpret, and share the results
  5. Apply the results in decision making processes to improve programs and services

Assessment Committee

The Student Affairs Assessment Committee facilitates a variety of research and assessment activities and initiatives within the Division of Student Affairs.

The Student Affairs Assessment Committee is charged with the following tasks: 

  • Provide guidance and advisory support on assessment of programs and services.
  • Offer a more in-depth understanding of SJSU students through data collection focused on student engagement, learning, satisfaction, and climate.
  • Discuss and disseminate assessment findings within Student Affairs and to interested persons in the campus community.
  • Summarize assessment and research literature relevant to the operation and effectiveness of Student Affairs.

Assessment Resources

NASPA Assessment, Evaluation, and Research Knowledge Community

The NASPA Assessment, Evaluation, and Research Knowledge Community encourages and supports student affairs professionals as they assess learning, evaluate programs, and research theory and practice.

ACPA Assessment Skills and Knowledge (ASK) Booklet

Endorsed by national accrediting bodies, associations, and assessment experts, the ACPA ASK Standards articulate the areas of assessment skills and knowledge (ASK) needed by student affairs professionals in all functional areas.

CAS- Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education

The Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) provides both General Standards and Learning and Developmental Outcomes to guide practitioners in improving programs and services with the goal of enhancing the quality of student learning and development.

National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment

The National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) provides resources and tools to assist with the discovery and adoption of promising practices in the assessment of college student learning outcomes.