The College Assessment Handbook by Dr. Charles Taylor

The College Assessment Handbook


At last- an assessment book that will have your entire department conducting assessment and understanding it at the same time. This handbook provides a comprehensive road map for campuses to use to conduct assessment. By adopting a comprehensive planning process your college demonstrates that it is committed to the process of continuous assessment and evaluation of its educational programs as a way to improve both teaching and learning.

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Hi, I’m Chuck Taylor, the author. If you’re like many of my colleagues, assessment was just dropped into your lap and you were forced to figure it out with little training or support. I know firsthand how frustrating that can be, because it happened to me. I attended conferences, read assessment books, picked the brains of experts until it finally started making sense.

I vowed to help my colleagues avoid the exasperating experience that I had to go through to learn how to conduct assessment. That’s one of the main reasons why I wrote this book. I recognize that many faculty members have not engaged in assessment planning before. As a result these guidelines are intended to assist you in the process. You will find step-by-step instructions, templates, model assessment plans and links to the most complete assessment resources available anywhere.

By following the guidelines outlined in this booklet, each unit or department at your campus should be able to produce a plan that is acceptable to your local Assessment Committee, your chief Academic Officer and to your Accrediting Body while also providing valuable data and planning for the improvement of student learning and teaching.

I know my approach to assessment works because I’ve helped a number of campuses achieve accreditation. In fact I was able to help one college achieve full accreditation in one of the quickest times ever. That’s why I’m confident that my book will help you too!


You can spend $10,000 to bring an expensive consultant to campus or invest $25 in this book and teach your faculty and staff how to properly conduct assessment. Your faculty and staff will find everything they need to write an effective Assessment Plan that should satisfy your accreditor including sample Q&A’s. If your goal is to improve teaching and learning then this book is for you. You’ll recoup your investment many times over and save weeks of work by using the templates that have already been tested.


Assessment should not be viewed as an arduous task done to fulfill the requirements of accreditation. Rather, it is our ethical duty to make sure that our academic programs are as effective as we can make them and to continually collect assessment data in an attempt to constantly improve our students’ learning environment. No program is ever perfect, and assessment helps us pinpoint where we are lacking and guides us as we strive to make our learning community better.

Students and parents now consider accreditation reports as an important factor in their decision making about where to attend college. Therefore it is important for higher education institutions to provide ample resources towards the process of assessment.


The guidelines in this book are based on best practices from accredited institutions, and from Accreditation Handbooks, to ensure consistency, compliance and quality. Further, these guidelines are intended to:

  • Provide the information necessary for faculty at your College to write an Assessment Plan for their academic program.
  • Model how the process of implementing assessment is carried out at those institutions that have effective assessment practices in place.


On many campuses faculty are reluctant to get involved with assessment. One reason for this hesitation is the perception that assessment will be used to faculty’s detriment by requiring them to ‘justify and defend’ their teaching practices or the fear that they will be penalized for not reaching their goals. Many faculty view assessment as an imposition from above that threatens their academic freedom.

Then there is the practical workload concern; assessment means more work, and greater demand on already overwhelming faculty schedules. That’s why assessment has to address faculty concerns. Otherwise few faculties will get enthused about a process they view as stacked against them.

The good news is that many campuses have successfully addressed these concerns and faculties are engaged in very productive assessment initiatives. As a faculty member I understand faculty concerns. This book addresses these concerns and recommends that assessment should be a faculty centered and faculty owned process rather than one that is dictated from above.


The College Assessment Handbook is filled with templates and examples that literally walk you through the process. You’ll find:

  • Instructions for Writing Program Assessment Plans
  • An Annual Assessment Plan Template
  • An Annual Assessment Progress Report
  • General Education Assessment information
  • Online Assessment information
  • College Assessment Initiatives
  • 5-Year Program Evaluation information and more


This book helps you to decide what to measure, what tools to use to measure it, how to analyze and use the data to improve student learning. Here are samples of areas that your department can evaluate.

__Course(s) __Program(s) __Major(s) __Certificates(s) __Skill(s) __Other

It is recommended that you assess at least one program objective annually.

Keep in mind that regional accreditation agencies prefer that faculty use multiple measures, both quantitative and qualitative, rather than rely on one instrument. To make sure that you’re covering your bases in your assessment efforts, it is often helpful to construct a matrix with Measurable Statements listed along rows and Assessment Tools listed along columns. Real examples are provided in the book to help you better understand the method. By laying your plan out in matrix format both you and the Assessment Committee can easily see what you’re doing and why.


We’ve included a sample Assessment Schedule that you can modify to suit your campus’ needs. This schedule should help you organize your campus’ assessment initiatives and integrate assessment planning into your academic calendar.

  • If you’re looking for direct and indirect indicators of learning, our handy chart lists what the accrediting bodies accept and thus removes the uncertainty for you.
  • The Glossary that we’ve provided will familiarize you with the most common terms used in the Assessment field.
  • We also include information about the duties of the Assessment Committee. Many campuses use this committee to manage and lead assessment activities on their campus.

Whether you’re new to assessment or have been a practitioner for many years, this handbook should help you take assessment to the next level. There’s more. You’ll also find:

  • Guidelines for Assessing Non-Academic Programs
  • A Template for Non-Academic Programs
  • Examples of Assessment Tools
  • Tips for Reporting Assessment Results

Everything needed to write an assessment plan is contained in this book. In addition a weblink is included that is probably the most comprehensive in the country in terms of housing assessment resources. This link is literally the assessment resource “bible” and is worth the price of the book all by itself.

If you’re ready to become the assessment expert on your campus and feel a terrific sense of achievement while improving the learning environment:

Order this book today! Paperback from Amazon $49;
or E-book (pdf file) $24.95:

$24.95 Add to cart


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