Academic Assessment

Find Your Way Forward

Improvement Never Ends

The Indiana Wesleyan University College of Adult and Professional Studies (CAPS) Office of Academic Assessment and Evaluation is committed to empowering members of the IWU team with the knowledge and tools needed to ensure that we have a culture of data use where we analyze relevant evidence of student learning for the purpose of continuous improvement.

Faculty driven evaluation teams analyze multiple assessment measures to annually improve curriculum and instruction through action planning and follow-up review.

Continuous Academic Improvement

The Indiana Wesleyan University mission statement defines our fundamental goals and aspirations: "Indiana Wesleyan University is a Christ-centered academic community committed to changing the world by developing students in character, scholarship and leadership." Our mission permeates everything that we do to include direct and indirect support to our students and administrative operations.

Our primary mission is to develop students who will change the world for Christ.

With fulfillment of the mission in mind, the academic process begins with our world-class faculty who develop student learning outcomes and corresponding performance measures for each academic program. The learning outcomes motivate and direct the design of course curriculum including the crafting of learning experiences which may include lectures, laboratory experiments, discussions, group projects, service learning experiences, research projects, term papers, practicums and even internships - whatever best accomplishes the learning outcomes. Part of that planning process is also to define when and how learning outcome assessment data will be collected, analyzed and used for the purpose of program improvement.

The ultimate goal is to demonstrate, with outcome-based evidence, that we are accomplishing our mission.

This diagram is interactive and, in the spirit of continuous improvement, grows and changes regularly. Many of the Process rectangles are active. Clicking them will reveal additional sub-processes. This system represents the three fundamental components of continuous improvement: 1) Outcomes/goals (blue), 2) Evidence of performance (green), 3) Strategies and techniques (purple). The blue and the green items are constant while the purple processes are changeable through evidence-based instructional practice research and application.



Although the words assessment and evaluation are often used interchangeably, in our communication in CAPS, we try to differentiate between the two.

If the purpose of the meeting/form/website/resource/assignment is to inform faculty regarding the academic needs of their learners, the activity is assessment. Also, if the purpose is to inform students of their own knowledge or skill compared to a specified criteria or norm, then the activity is assessment.

If the meeting/form/website/resource/data exists to inform someone charged with quality (quality of instruction, assessment, course materials, institutional structures, use of support resources etc.), then the activity is evaluation.

In this document, when assessment is used, we are assuming an instructor/student audience. When evaluation is used, we are assuming an administrative audience, acknowledging that many faculty play dual roles as both instructor and administrator.

When we wear our assessment hats, we are thinking about the measurement of student learning so that we can improve the learning experiences of the students who produced the evidence.

When we wear our evaluation hats, we are thinking about many students’ learning experiences in conjunction with many instructors’ teaching experiences, in connection to the needs of employers and the needs of the university. We are considering the bigger picture to make decisions about resourcing and improvement in general. 

Evaluation includes the satisfaction of several stakeholder groups while assessment is focused on the achievement of outcomes (cognitive/knowledge, psychomotor/skills, and affective/dispositions/responsibilities) and includes primarily the students’ learning needs.