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Continuing a Culture of Evidence: Assessment for Improvement VSA

Russell, Javarro; Markle, Ross
Publication Year:
Report Number:
ETS Research Report
Document Type:
Page Count:
Subject/Key Words:
Student Learning Outcomes, Student Improvement, Educational Accountability, Higher Education, Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA), Public Policy, Culture of Evidence, Assessment for Improvement


From 2006 to 2008, Educational Testing Service (ETS) produced a series of reports titled A Culture of Evidence, designed to capture a changing climate in higher education assessment. A decade later, colleges and universities already face new and different challenges resulting from societal, technological, and scientific influences. This new series of reports describes current issues and trends in assessment and how they relate to the needs of higher education institutions. In this report, we discuss the shift from accountability-based assessment to improvement-based assessment. When conducted for improvement, assessment is more inclusive of institutional faculty and staff, more informative to colleges and universities, and—it is hoped—focused on enhancing instruction and learning. However, these positive outcomes do not come without challenges. Ultimately, assessment-for-improvement has implications for many of the people, processes, and tools used to measure student learning.

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