Are college students learning what faculty think the students need to know? How do institutions know that their graduates are prepared to survive and thrive after college? What is the return on investment for a college education?
These are among the many questions that will be examined by nearly 200 higher education leaders and faculty at the second annual Assessment Network of New York Conference hosted by Rochester Institute of Technology. The conference will be held April 28–30 in Louise Slaughter Hall on the RIT campus.
The purpose of assessment in higher education is to obtain and use information that can inform actions aimed at enhancing institutional effectiveness, student learning and student success, said Anne Wahl, director of RIT’s Assessment Office. The issue is under increasing scrutiny in higher education as employers, parents, regulators and accreditors ask more questions related to student outcomes.
“The ultimate goal of assessment is to enhance the academic quality and institutional effectiveness of higher education institutions,” said Wahl. “Nationally, there is a growing movement away from only doing assessment in response to external forces and compliance. Institutions are heading toward conducting meaningful assessment driven by campus communities and using assessment evidence as part of a continuous improvement process.”
Assessment Network of New York (ANNY) was formed in 2010 by higher educational professionals representing the State University of New York, the City University of New York, and New York state’s private colleges and universities. The group’s primary objective is to create a statewide network to stimulate ideas and exchange ideas. This year’s conference theme is “Using Assessments to Drive Improvement: Practical Applications from the Field.”
“Across New York state, colleges and universities are working to advance the institutional assessment culture on their campuses,” said Wahl. “ANNY provides a cost-effective opportunity to share best practices around core issues: using assessment results more effectively, developing strategies to engage the campus, developing assessment tools to measure institutional, program, or general education outcomes. At RIT, our primary goal is to support the campus in the development of meaningful, manageable, and sustainable assessment practices that lead to improvement.”