ACC Building

Learning Assessment FAQs

  • Why assess at UVI? The University of the Virgin Islands' journey to effectively institute student learning outcomes assessment has been and will continue to be an evolutionary 'organizational learning process', rather than a "big bang" transformation done right the first time . The University realizes that "assessment is a learner-centered movement and plays a key role in shifting from a teacher-centered to a learner-centered paradigm by forcing us to ask, 'What have our students learned and how well have they learned it?' 'How successful have we been at what we are trying to accomplish?' ' Are we making a difference?' "

  • What is assessment? Assessment is the process of gathering and discussing information from multiple and diverse sources in order to determine whether or not intended academic outcomes or administrative objectives have been achieved and to what extent these have been achieved.

  • What do I do with the assessment data my program has collected? The 'Use of Data' is in the final step of the assessment process. Therefore, once the assessment data has been collected, analyzed and interpreted, decisions should be made about what to do about the results. Such decisions should lead to specific and documented action steps implemented to improve the quality of the academic program assessed or improve the assessment processes and methods used.

  • What is Student Learning Outcomes Assessment? While external pressures from government funding entities and regional accrediting bodies have intensified the level of attention given to and focus on outcomes assessment, the primary purpose for UVI doing student learning outcomes assessment is for improving student learning. Therefore, UVI defines student learning outcomes assessment as a faculty-driven process that systematically gathers, interprets, and uses data for the purpose of improving student learning.

  • Who is Responsible for Student Learning Outcomes Assessment at UVI? The Director, in collaboration with the Division Coordinators, oversees the production of summary reports of each Division's assessment of student learning (e.g. for re-accreditation and other such reporting). The Director of Student Learning Outcomes Assessment chairs CLASS. Currently, CLASS comprises the following members:
    • Director of Student Learning Outcomes Assessment, Chairs
    • Division Assessment Coordinators o General Education Assessment Coordinator
    • Director of Counseling and Placement
    • Representative from Office of Institutional Research
    • Additional UVI faculty, administrators and students to be added soon.

    Within each academic division, CLASS Division Coordinators will function as the links between the university-wide student learning outcomes assessment activities and their division's assessment planning and implementation processes. CLASS Division Coordinators work with their respective Division faculty members and Chairs to develop and implement the assessment of Division academic programs. Each Division Coordinator has the following responsibilities:

    • Attend and actively participate in scheduled meetings of CLASS;
    • Maintain a focus within the division on student learning and assessment;
    • Promote, in collaboration with the division chair, discussions and monitor subsequent actions on the use of assessment data in facilitating student learning;
    • Oversee the identification of courses to be assessed;
    • Ensure that appropriate student learning growth plans are in place;
    • Lead the development of assessment reports from the division for the Provost; and
    • Submit reports on assessment, as required.

  • Why can't we just use grades as course or program assessments? Grades are not regarded as a valid and direct assessment measure of performance. However, the set of multiple performance criteria faculty often use to determine a grade can be used as assessment of performance. For example, a professor might give a student an overall grade of 'B' for their oral presentation of a topic. The criteria the professor might use to evaluate, on a scale from 0 to 5, the oral presentation might includes:
    1. to what extent the student maintained eye contact;
    2. the extent to which the student spoke fluently;
    3. the extent to which the student used hand gestures and body movements appropriately; and
    4. the quality of standard English language usage.

    The scores, from 0 to 5, a student receives on each of these 4 criteria represent assessment of measures of performance.

  • How do faculty benefit from assessment information? Assessment information can help us answer:
    • How well do actual student outcomes match our expected learning outcomes, objectives and goals?
    • To what extent does our curriculum comply with our mission statement?
    • Are students learning what they are suppose to learn?
    • What impact is UVI having on its students and how do we know?

  • Is there a step-by-step guide for the assessment process? UVI will perform student learning outcomes assessment at the program level for both the general education program and academic Division degree programs. Each academic Division is responsible for developing and implementing a student learning outcomes assessment plan and process. The assessment process involves five steps:
    1. Identify Institutional Mission Statement and Institutional Goals;
    2. Develop Academic Program Learning Outcomes;
    3. Develop Means of Assessment and Criteria for Success;
    4. Collect and Analyze Assessment Data and
    5. Interpret, Use and Report Assessment Results.
    This assessment approach, called the Nichols Five Column Model, is well-established in the assessment industry and is accepted by both accreditation bodies and funding agencies. The University's approach to student learning outcomes assessment is based upon industry best practices and consists of this five step cycle.

  • What resources are available to assist faculty? We have a list of various assessment resources available on our website.

  • How do I submit a question for the FAQ?  All questions are welcome! Email Dr. Hudspeth at