The purpose of assessment is continuous improvement of teaching and learning.
Assessment is a cyclical process that builds on previous work and activity. The “assessment loop” is closed once a program takes findings from its assessment results, implements changes based on those findings, and reassesses to confirm learning improvement.
Generally, assessment findings indicate a need to modify an assessment procedure, curriculum or instruction. In addition, assessment findings can highlight the attainment of learning expectations and the success of a course or program.
Not all assessment improvements have to be drastic measures. Some assessment improvements can be as simple as realizing that the assessment instrument is really not yielding the results that you expect because it is not equiped to do so. In that case, identifying or designing a new instrument will be an appropriate course of action. Nevertheless, there should be enough evidence collected and logic to your response on why you decided that changing the assessment instrument or questions will make a difference.
For courses, results may indicate that changing how concepts are introduced and the timing of that introduction can increase student success. Other changes can be realizing that students are introduced to the concept in the curriculum, but course assignments and planned experiences are not sufficient to help students master those concepts by the end of the course. This may lead to modifications in assignments, readings, or general teaching approaches to reinforce concepts.
For programs, results from the student learning assessment may indicate that program curricula needs to be reviewed and adjusted. A program may also discover that a new course needs to be created to sufficiently address a learning outcome or that examining the course sequence is necessary.