Assessment is important. It requires administrators, faculty, and staff to thoughtfully consider what they are trying to achieve through the identification of expected outcomes. Once identified, these outcomes are assessed with an appropriate metric (e.g., rubric, multiple-choice test, or survey), which leads to evidence-based decision making. This ongoing cycle of planning, assessing, and closing the loop ensures that we take time to reflect on what we have done, how well we have done it, and how we might make improvements.
VMI’s accrediting body, the Southern Association of Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), believes strongly in the value of this process that it requires member institutions to demonstrate continuous improvement in educational programs, administrative support services, and academic and student support services. Specifically, SACSCOC requires that institutions document that campus units (i.e., a program major or academic service) identify expected outcomes, assess the extent to which they achieve those outcomes, and provide evidence of improvement based on data gathered in the assessment. For more information, see Sections 7 (Institutional Planning and Effectiveness) and 8 (Student Achievement) in the Principles of Accreditation.a