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Skidmore College
Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment at Skidmore College

Frequently Asked Questions

What is "Academic Assessment"?

Why should we want to be involved in assessment?

What is a typical assessment process?

Do we have to do the same thing every year?

When I hear "outcomes assessment", I think of an industrial process that leads to "products." Education is not so easily described, especially a liberal education. Is this the only way to think of assessment?

What techniques should we use to assess our students' learning?

Isn't the education of a student more than the sum total of classes that a student has taken? What about all the other experiences that students have? Are majors and departments the only units involved in assessment efforts? 

How is assessment different from regular evaluation of students?

Why can't regular grades be used for assessment?

What is "authentic assessment"?

What is "embedded assessment"?

Please explain the term "value-added."

What do we mean by "critical thinking"? Doesn't this concept involve a multitude of skills and attitudes?

What is "primary trait analysis"?

Our major is regularly reviewed for accreditation. Won't that meet the need to assess general education or the major?

I don't understand how the assessment of the major can also serve as an assessment of general education. Aren't we assessing very different competencies?

What is "high-stakes testing"?

What is to prevent our assessment from becoming a high-stakes test? Is our purpose to design assessments that help us learn whether our students are learning what we hope they are learning, or is it to establish a test that our students must pass?