Office of Assessment

Student Participation

Christopher Newport has made a commitment to your education and has set goals for what you should know and what you should be able to do with what you know when you graduate. Assessment is a way of evaluating our efforts toward that commitment through the use of tests such as the CLA+, performance evaluations and surveys such as the National Survey of Student Engagement. Assessment supplies valuable information to the university about how students are doing and what they think.

In order to evaluate our programs effectively we need input from as many of our students as possible. Research of this kind requires a fair representation of students in all the majors and the liberal learning courses, as well as the four classes (e.g., freshman, sophomore). By gathering information from the incoming class, we can better evaluate change over time.

Assessment activities will not affect your GPA, your grade in a class or your placement in courses. These activities will give you opportunities both to show what you can do and to express your opinions.

At several points during your four years at Christopher Newport you will be asked to participate in an assessment activity, either about your liberal learning courses or as part of your major field of study. We expect students to participate in assessment activities and have included statements in the Student Handbook to remind you of the expectation.

Considering how much useful information is generated from assessment activities, these projects take surprisingly little time. For example, data gathered during Welcome Week of fall orientation and a follow-up in the second week of March of the junior year take about 60 minutes for a test and 15 minutes for a survey. You will probably spend less than two hours a year on assessment, but the results are extremely important to your department the university and you.

Faculty and administrators see the results of various assessment projects but with no identifying names or CNU ID numbers. Though we need to ask for these to verify student status or to match responses to student database information (e.g., GPA, admission test scores), we always remove any identifying information before reporting the results. All assessment data are treated confidentially.

Benefits

"Effective assessment is thus not an intrusive burden but an opportunity to provide students with an even better education than they are now receiving." (Linda Suskie, 2007) The goal of assessment is not information gathering. The goal is to improve the learning experience through decisions about curriculum, instruction, and programs such as undergraduate research and service learning. In the long run, assessment provides students an active role in improving the quality of their own degrees.

Because Assessment can... ... Faculty can
Provide information about the knowledge and skills students have as they enter a course Design instruction to target the knowledge and skill levels students should have upon finishing a course and better determine the levels of thinking or reasoning appropriate for the course.
Provide reliable data on student learning Rely less on the comments that appear on student evaluations as indicators of their success in teaching.
Make available richer data about the effects of the curriculum or teaching methods Engage in more productive conversations about the status of student achievement and make better decisions about how it might be improved.
Yield more reliable data about instruction… Make reliable decisions about innovations or experimental projects in instruction and share successes more easily.
Provide evidence that faculty make a difference in student learning Enjoy greater satisfaction in their work as educators.
Offer a larger view of student needs and accomplishments Identify directions for future instructional development.
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