Assessment, Research & Evaluation

Overview of Assessment

What is assessment, exactly? It's the systematic process of collecting and interpreting information in order to draw conclusions about an issue, problem, activity or institution. Three key types are important in education-related programs: needs/baseline assessment, formative assessment, and summative assessment. Effective assessment incorporates components of each type to take advantage of the synergy the tools offer.

Why is assessment important? Demands for greater functional, administrative and financial accountability have grown within education over the past two decades. Governmental policy-makers, accreditation agencies, grant providers and other external stakeholders have increasingly asked educational institutions—including universities—to document the outcomes and results of their educational endeavors.

Regardless of external mandates, educational practitioners stand to gain significant, intrinsic benefits from effective assessment. Gathering diverse data facilitates good decision-making and increases the likelihood of program success.

Benefits of assessment for various program personnel

Program Administrators

Enhance ability to monitor a program's function and progress. Decisions regarding programming, policy, resources and personnel can be made in a data-rich environment.


Acquire specific data that can be used to refine pedagogy and curriculum. Strengthen bonds between instructor and students by developing a productive dialogue. More closely monitor student learning.

Program Staff

Acquire specific data that be used to improve program procedures and activities. Reveal unsuspected problems or issues of concern. Better monitor student progress.

How do you go about doing assessment? The Discovery Learning Center can help evaluate a variety of education and learning programs, and at any stage of program delivery, by using specific, customized assessment tools. Contact us to learn more about how our expertise can help your education and learning programs succeed.


DLC Assessment Staff,