Why Do We Assess and Evaluate?

The Division of Student Affairs at Longwood University assesses student learning and evaluates programs for many reasons.
Student Affairs administrators employ assessment and evaluation to better understand the needs of a constantly changing student population. In addition, assessment and evaluation are used to foster student learning, such as identity and skill development.
Assessment and evaluation are also used to improve the quality and affordability of programs and services.
Furthermore, assessment helps Student Affairs administrators develop effective university policies and procedures, contribute to strategic planning, and demonstrate to external constituents their commitment to continually change to meet various student development needs and learning styles.
In short, we use assessment and evaluation to determine and reinforce what we do well and improve what we do not.

What is the Difference between Assessment and Evaluation?

Evaluation appraises the strengths and weaknesses of programs, policies, personnel, products, and organizations to improve their effectiveness.

Assessment is an on-going process aimed at improving student learning, programs, and services that involves a process of:

  • publicly sharing expectations
  • defining criteria and standards for quality
  • gathering, analyzing, and interpreting evidence about how well performance matches the criteria
  • using the results to documents, explain, and improve performance.

The Division of Student Affairs at Longwood University uses both evaluation and assessment to guide our work. Evaluation is to determine significance or worth or judge the effectiveness of educational programs. Assessment is to determine a rate or amount and is used as an activity to measure student learning and other human characteristics.


2010-12 Assessment Audit Findings:

In July of 2012, all SA directors were asked…
  • what assessment measures have you used?
  • what evidence has been collected that demonstrates student learning?
  • what important decisions or changes have been made based on assessment?
  • what will you do differently to positively impact our NSSE student responses?

Click here to see the results.