Skip to main content area Skip to institutional navigation Skip to sub-navigation
Skip to main content

What is It and Why Do It?

What is Assessment?


Assessment is the ongoing process of:

  1. establishing clear, demonstrable, observable (not necessarily “measurable”) expected outcomes of student learning
  2. ensuring that students have sufficient opportunities to achieve these outcomes
  3. systematically gathering, analyzing and interpreting evidence to determine how well student learning matches our expectations; and
  4. using the resulting information to understand and improve student learning as well as to celebrate current successes.

Assessment involves deciding what you want your students to learn and determining the extent to which they have learned it. Successful assessment helps you answer the following three questions: What do your students know? What can they do? How do you know?


Why we assess student learning at Colorado College


Assessment at Colorado College supports the College’s mission:

“At Colorado College our goal is to provide the finest liberal arts education in the country. Drawing upon the adventurous spirit of the Rocky Mountain West, we challenge students, one course at a time, to develop those habits of intellect and imagination that will prepare them for learning and leadership throughout their lives.”

Assessment informs us about the successes and limits of student learning and guides us in where and how to make improvements to support and improve student learning. It does this by building meaningful inquiry and conversation about such improvement.

While assessment has ties to external entities to which the college is accountable, we carry out assessment because it helps us become a better educational institution.


Answers to common assessment questions

Assessment vs. program evaluation