Student Assessment by Differing Institution Types


The patterns and practices of student assessment varied greatly by institutional type for most of the domains examined in the national study. Several of these differences are outlined below. For more detailed information, see the individual reports by institutional type by clicking on the heading for that institutional type.

Associate of Arts Institutions
(Peterson, Augustine, Einarson & Vaughan, 1999a)
• Most likely to report their student assessment process was initiated by a state plan or requirement.
• Most likely of all institutional types to collect data on students' entry-level educational performance.
• Patterns of student assessment approach reflect open-door admissions, vocational emphasis, and diverse, mobile student body.
• Most likely to use a formal centralized plan or policy for student assessment that requires specific activities for all units or programs.

Baccalaureate Institutions (Peterson, Augustine, Einarson & Vaughan, 1999b)
• Least likely to report the influence of a state plan or requirement for student assessment.
• Most likely to collect data on students' cognitive domains (higher-order skills, general education, competence in major field, etc.), and students’ experiences and/or satisfaction with the institution.
• Least likely to have an office providing faculty support for using student assessment.
• More likely than other types to report that student assessment information has had a positive impact on regional accreditation evaluations.

Comprehensive Institutions (Peterson, Einarson, Augustine, & Vaughan, 1999b)
• Regional accreditation requirements are more often perceived as having a positive influence on the institution’s approaches to student assessment than state requirements.
• Most likely to collect data on students’ current academic progress, basic skills, and satisfaction with the institution.
• Most likely to view student assessment as meeting academic improvement purposes rather than external accountability purposes.
• Most likely to adopt a formal decentralized plan or policy where academic units or programs develop their own assessment plan.

Doctoral and Research Institutions (Peterson, Einarson, Augustine, & Vaughan, 1999c)
• Most likely to report being required to use state-mandated student performance indicators.
• Tend to fall in the mid-range among all colleges and universities of the extensiveness of their undergraduate student assessment approach.
• Compared to other types of institutions, research institutions appear to be less influenced by accreditation requirements for student assessment.
• Most likely to conduct studies of the relationship between students’ institutional experiences and student performance.

© 2003, National Center for Postsecondary Improvement, headquartered at the Stanford Institute for Higher Education Research.