Linda Suskie

 A Common Sense Appr​oach to Assessment in Higher Education


A lot to be thankful for

Posted on December 21, 2014 at 8:00 AM

I am so grateful to Paul Fain at Inside Higher Ed for interviewing me on my new book Five Dimensions of Quality: A Common Sense Guide to Accreditation and Accountability. I’m also deeply grateful to Taskstream for letting me share highlights of the book with hundreds of people through a webinar in October. And I am honored and humbled by the many people who have shared the news of my new book through LinkedIn, Twitter, Amazon reviews, and thoughtful comments on Paul’s interview.


But these are only the tip of the iceberg. As this year comes to a close, there’s a lot that all of us working on assessment and accreditation have to be thankful for. Compared to when I became actively involved with the assessment movement 15 years ago:


  • Faculty and administrators have an increasingly good understanding of assessment basics. Many know what learning outcomes and rubrics are, for example.
  • As more people understand assessment and are doing assessment, there’s less pushback. It’s harder for people to say this can’t be done or isn’t relevant when their colleagues are doing this and finding it relevant and useful.
  • Most accreditors are continuing to focus more on higher education outcomes than inputs.
  • We now have an increasingly impressive array of resources to help with assessment, accreditation, and accountability, including tools, technologies, research, and networks of practitioners who are always generous with help, advice, and support.
  • Because of all of this, most colleges now have quite a mass of data and information--perhaps not yet the best quality, but often appreciably better than what they had 10 or 20 years ago.


One thing hasn’t changed over the years, however, and that’s the dedication of people working in higher education. Yes, I’ve written about assessment bullies and stonewallers, but the vast majority of people with whom I’ve worked are fully committed to helping their students learn and succeed. They often accomplish miracles despite being overworked, underpaid, and underresourced. They are the reason that American higher education is as good as it is, and I am thankful to have the opportunity to work with them.

Categories: State of assessment