Assessment is an iterative feedback process for continual program improvement, based on the model to the right.
The assessment cycle is an integral part of student-centered education. It provides an ongoing mechanism for challenging tacit assumptions about program effectiveness, identifying conflicting program elements, and assuring that student learning objectives are met. It also allows for evolution of program goals over time. Although it is by no means an easy task to define learning objectives and measurable outcomes for an educational program, faculty engaged in the process inevitably and uniformly are rewarded by identifying with heightened clarity what it is they are trying to accomplish and how they can better go about it.
From the Center for Instructional Innovation, Western Washington University