Supporting and Coordinating Assessment Activities
Assessment is a systematic and ongoing process of gathering and interpreting information to discover if programs/services are meeting intended outcomes and then using the information to enhance/improve the programs/services. In other words, assessment helps units and programs determine:
- how well they are meeting their mission,
- how well they are reaching their goals,
- areas where improvements could be implemented, and
- what difference newly implemented improvements have.
Assessment practices are continuous but may vary by periodicity, scope, and duration. The benefits of assessment activities include prompting meaningful discussion about programs and services among faculty and staff. Assessment activity should lead to informed improvement regarding student learning outcomes and units’ core functions. Institutional Research and Assessment culture of assessment encourages meaningful and measurable assessment that as well as the abilities to see a program change over time, have the tools necessary to compare a unit to a peer or aspirational unit, and make data-driven improvements.
Preparing Required Reports and Surveys
IER also supports institutional-wide assessment activities including Exit Surveys (surveys for graduating seniors), the National Survey of Student Engagement (national survey used at over 400 colleges and universities), the Howard Continuous Improvement Process (the university-wide, unit-level assessment process), and Course Evaluations (evaluations of teaching effectiveness).
Responding to Institutional Data Requests
IRA acts as an intermediary between data stewards across the university and internal and external stakeholders interested in Howard University data. IRA provides timely, accurate, and consistent data while holding the highest degrees of data integrity.
Supporting Accreditation Efforts
By collecting, analyzing, and reporting assessment activities, IRA supports Howard University itself as well as forty of its internal programs and centers to maintain compliance with accrediting agencies. Howard University’s accreditation is reaffirmed every eight years by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). While the accreditation or reaffirmation report is submitted once every eight years, IRA is constantly gathering data and supporting units as they gather their own assessment data in order to fulfill the requirements of this octennial document and individual, discipline-specific accreditation reports.