What is Assessment in the Division of Planning, Enrollment Management and Student Affairs (PEMSA) at Sacramento State?
Assessment is an ongoing process aimed at understanding and improving student learning.
- Making program objectives and student learning outcomes explicit and public
- Setting appropriate criteria and high expectations
- Systematically gathering, analyzing, and interpreting evidence to determine how well programs and services match those expectations and standards
- Using the resulting information to document, explain, and improve programs and services
- Demonstrating how Student Affairs contributes to student learning and student success
- Showcasing departmental and divisional strengths
- Identifying areas where the department and division can improve
Why do Assessment in PEMSA?
Assessment in PEMSA strategically aligns the Division with:
- Chancellors’ Office Initiatives (e.g., the CSU Graduation Initiative)
- University planning (e.g. Sacramento State Graduation Initiative)
- Sacramento State Baccalaureate Learning Goals
- WASC requirements to demonstrate the impact of Student Affairs on student learning
Expanding the Definition of Student Learning
At Sacramento State, the Division of Student Affairs defines student learning as a comprehensive, holistic, transformative activity that integrates academic learning and student development, processes that have often been considered separate, and even independent of each other.
In this division, the term learning does not mean exclusively or primarily academic instruction, the acquisition of disciplinary content, or classroom learning.
An Approach to Institutional Assessment
An important thing to note about institutional assessment is that no matter what form it takes, it needs to be authentic and meaningful to those orchestrating it. In other words, there should be a feeling of “ownership” about assessment activities.
Assessment should ideally work to provide a deep understanding of the connection between institutional, divisional, or departmental programming and the effects it has on students. Assessment should additionally and simultaneously help improve the student experience based on such tangible factors as performance, retention, and graduation, and such less-tangible factors as student health, happiness, and overall wellbeing.