What is Assessment?

Assessment, in general, is the systematic collection, review, and use of information about academic programs and administrative and educational support services; assessment activities are undertaken for the ultimate purpose of improving outcomes. Academic assessment is traditionally, primarily focused on the assessment of student learning; though there is overlap with academic assessment, assessment of Administrative and Educational Support (AES) programs/units typically focuses on assessing support outcomes as well as learning outcomes.

Assessment as a Tool for Improvement through Learning

Let's face it, the word "assessment" is anxiety-producing for many. For some the word conjures images of draconian "accountability" activities, others struggle with understanding its utility in everyday work. A former teacher by the name of Joe Bower (1979-2016) shared this observation about "assessment":
“Assessment has been bastardized into meaning measurement. It’s not the same thing. Assessment is not measurement. I assess my students every single day, but it’s not in what is maybe the conventional sense. Assessment is not a spreadsheet, it’s a conversation.” (article: "Assessment is not a spreadsheet, it's a conversation", Dec. 2016)

Whatever your perception of assessment has been, Hostos Community College has been (and still is) working diligently to transform assessment into what it was always intended to be: a meaningful opportunity for reflection, discussion, and informed decision-making. To this end, assessment activities at Hostos are designed, scoped, and supported to help units/programs be reflective learners and continuous improvers; constantly reflecting on the question: "what have I learned about my unit/program and what implications does it have for how we can operate even better?"