Assessment FAQs

What is the difference between assessment and research?

The table below illustrates the similiarities and key differences between assessment and research. The Baseline Help Center from Campus Labs also provides the table below, along with a more detailed description of the differences. 

AssessmentResearch

Ask pertinent questions

Ask pertinent questions
Collect data Collect data
Analyze results Analyze results
Use results to provide evidence/make decisions  Use results to provide evidence/make decisions 
Use both qualitative and quantitative data Use both qualitative and quantitative data
Can accommodate limited time and resources Requires extensive time, resources, and expertise
Takes a snapshot of your target audience Often utilizes control groups; controls for all or most variables in a closed environment 
Helps professionals make better decisions for their students                               Intended to investigate or provide evidence toward a theory or hypotheses
Does NOT seek to generalize to all students Can be applied broadly to all audiences, regardless of their school

 

Please see the Resources section for more information. 

Why is assessment important?

The Association for the Assessment of Learning in Higher Education (AALHE) describes assessment as a "tool to improve student learning and institutional effectiveness in fostering student success."

In the Professional Competency Areas for Student Affairs Educators, the ACPA/NASPA recommend that at the most basic level, student affairs professionals should be able to not only facilitate data collection, but effectively interpret and use assessment results as well.

What we do in Campus Life Services is valuable. Assessment allows us to show why we are valuable and concretely demonstrate how we contribute to student learning, student success, and developing UMB students as whole people.

We are here to serve students and help them grow. We are student-focused, let's show our impact! 

What method should I use to assess my program?

The assessment method is how program effectiveness is measured. It is how we prove to ourselves, our departments, different stakeholders, and our leadership that students are learning what we set out for them to learn when we created specific programs. 

The method chosen should change based upon the learning outcome you are trying to achieve, along with the context in which you are trying to measure it (Assessment Reconsidered, 2008). The most common method used to assess programs in CLS is a survey. Surveys can be very powerful tools and are useful for certain types of programs; however, they may not always be the most appropriate or effective method. To learn more, please visit the Assessment Methods page. 

What can I do with the data I am collecting?

Sharing data allows us to tell our story. The last thing we want to do is collect meaningful data and then let it sit in a file cabinet or saved on our computers. We can use assessment data in a number of ways:

  1. To determine the impact of programs and services.
  2. To make improvements to programs and services.
  3. To review and improve the assessment process.
  4. To guide the planning of professional development. 
  5. To share with key stakeholders and the campus community. 

This is by no means an exhaustive list, and we encourage you to always explore ways to share and utilize the data you collect. Check out the Resources section for more information, including examples of sharing results. If you are feeling stumped, don't hesitate to reach out to the assessment team! 

Where can I find recordings of previous assessment workshops?

The assessment workshops presented by the Peer Assessment Leaders (PAL) team may be found in the Resources section. You can view Campus Labs webinars and training videos on their YouTube page as well.

Where can I find Campus Labs resources?

You can visit the Campus Labs section of this site or you can go to the Campus Labs Central Support Site

How do I request professional development topics?

Your ideas are always welcome! Please send any professional devleopment ideas and requests to Whitney Brown

How do I request help with my assessment projects?

If you would like assistance at any stage of the assessment process, please complete the online request form. Once the form is submitted, you will be contacted by a PAL team member who will further support you in your request.

How can I get more involved with assessment?

If you would like to get more involved with guiding the direction of assessment in CLS and learn more about assessment, you can join the Peer Assessment Leaders (PAL). 

If you are interested in working with a team to plan and conduct reasearch, write manuscripts, present, and/or publish findings on various topics, the Scholar-Practitioner Research Lab (SPRL) might be the right group for you. 

Questions about these groups? Please contact Whitney Brown