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Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is assessment?

Assessment is a systematic, ongoing process of gathering and analyzing evidence of student learning for continuous improvement of programs and courses. 

2. Why should we do assessment?

Assessment in the College of Public Service should be intentional with the purpose of improving student learning, supporting accreditation activities, and creating a data-driven culture.

3. What is a data-driven culture?

A data-driven culture is effectively using the results of the data in ways to make informed decisions for continuous improvements to programs and instructional practices that increases student learning.

4. What are student learning goals?

Student learning goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely (S.M.A.R.T.) statements that describe what students will know and be able to do as a result of completing a program or course.

5. What are learning objectives?

Learning objectives are clear, brief, statements that are measurable and used to describe what students are expected to do at the conclusion of a lesson, unit, project, or class period. 

6. What are learning outcomes?

Student learning outcomes statements are more specific, narrow, and measurable in nature. They demonstrate the knowledge, skills or values the student have achieved upon completion of a program or course. 

7. When do I submit assessment plans?

The Assessment Planning and Reporting Timeline located on the Assessment website provides detail information about when the annual assessment plans are due. 

8. Why should we not use grades?

While grades do assess student learning and performance, they do not examine patterns of learning across courses and programs. Remember, the goal of assessment is to provide continuous improvement in student learning. 

9. Whom do I contact for additional information about assessment for the College of Public Service?

Please email Sharon Noel, Assistant Director of Assessment at for additional information on assessment. 

10. If not part of a specialty accreditation (i.e., CAEP, CSWE, ABET, etc.), are we required to participate in assessment?

Despite not being part of a specialty accreditation, all CPS departments and centers are expected to participate in the assessment process.