Improving Student Assessment: A Toolkit for Developing Organizational and Administrative Support for Student Assessment


In 1996 NCPI commissioned a national study of the ways in which institutions collect and use assessment information. The results of that study, including the final report, and the protocols used are available in this toolkit.

This toolkit has two primary purposes:

  • to provide a guide for academic administrators and faculty charged with assessing and improving their organizational and administrative efforts in student assessment and
  • to present the results of a five-year national study of how colleges and universities promote and support the use of student assessment.


This toolkit provides

  1. A template for assessing and designing an institutional assessment strategy helpful in evaluating and improving campus student assessment efforts.

  2. detailed information on the national study including:

How To Use This Tool Kit

The use of this toolkit will depend on the user’s institutional type, her student assessment experience to date, and the level of understanding of student assessment issues.

The suggested approach to using this toolkit is threefold.

First, review the major sections in order to understand the scope and framework of the national study including the various current approaches to, patterns of organizational and administrative support for, and uses of student assessment that emerged from the study.

Second, examine the key findings and the variations specific to your own type of institution.

Third, conduct an inventory using the assessment strategy and the appropriate student assessment instruments to assess your institution’s approaches to, support for, and uses of student assessment. Then proceed to design an organizational and administrative strategy to promote and support the use of student assessment that reflects some understanding of what has been found and that serves your institutional type and purposes.

For institutions extensively involved with student assessment this toolkit also provides advice on evaluating its use and impact of its student assessment process. This toolkit also provides two instruments that can be used or adapted for specific use at the users institution. The topic headings in the margin will take the user through this process in an orderly fashion.


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