Assessment, in a university or college setting, can be interpreted to mean several things. Assessment can be the process of evaluating the success of a university in meeting its mission and goals (institutional assessment), or it can be the processes associated with evaluating student outcomes in relation to stated program goals (program assessment), or it can be course-embedded assessment techniques used to deliver information and/or evaluate student learning by observing students’ skills and abilities.
The University of South Carolina is committed to offering programs and activities that encourage students to develop both academically and socially. In order to evaluate the effectiveness of our efforts, faculty, administrators, and staff conduct ongoing assessments. The Office of Institutional Planning and Assessment assists the faculty, administration, and other staff in gathering and analyzing assessment data. Assessment, therefore, is the ongoing process of self-improvement through analyzing and evaluating all of our functions and activities.
Students, faculty, and staff play critical roles in the assessment process. Consequently, participation in assessment activities is a University priority and responsibility. The information gleaned from assessment activities is used for planning and program improvement. Many of the University’s assessment activities are mandated by external agencies. Therefore, all students wishing to receive a degree from the University of South Carolina must complete procedures required for the assessment of general education and those required by their major and/or area of concentration. If a student fails to participate in a required assessment activity, a hold may be placed on the student’s records.
Primary responsibility for the assessment of academic programs within the major or area of concentration is with the faculty of each academic unit. Information pertinent to assessment of the major or area of concentration is provided to students by the department from which the degree will be granted.
Primary responsibility for coordinating the assessment of general education is with the Office of Institutional Assessment and Compliance. The faculty is actively involved in planning assessment and using the results of assessment to evaluate the effectiveness of general education. The assessment of general education is administered through the use of exams, interviews, surveys, questionnaires, or other instruments as developed by the faculty and Office of Institutional Assessment and Compliance.
The results of any activities used for program or general education assessment may not be used for promotion and/or tenure files or for annual performance evaluations or for the evaluation of any student’s progress in a course or progress toward a degree. Assessment activities, however, are integral to the processes of teaching and learning.
For more information contact the Office of Institutional Assessment and Compliance.