Assessment is studying how well a particular activity is achieving its goals, and then using what is learned to change that activity as necessary. These pages describe Swarthmore's assessment processes, provide information about College assessment activities, and present broad institutional indicators. The second panel at the right provides links to resources for members of the College community conducting assessment.
From our Strategic Plan, approved by the Board of Managers in December 2011:
The College is committed to assessment.
Swarthmore has placed a high priority on assessment for many years. Throughout our history, our periodic reviews of curricular elements such as the Honors Program, our participation in research with consortia of peer institutions, and our constant attention to the effectiveness of our work as teachers, scholars, and administrators has been part of our stewardship of the College. In 2006, we formally articulated a plan to make these efforts more systematic. Throughout the strategic planning process, the importance of ongoing assessment for new initiatives as well as ongoing programs has been underscored. As the College uses its resources in the most effective ways, we must continue to instill a culture of continuous evaluation relative to our mission and goals.
There is no one person or office responsible for assessment. Rather, it is a responsibility that is shared across all areas and levels of the institution. Leadership and guidance is provided by a number of entities, including the Provost's Office, the Academic Assessment Committee, President's Staff, and the Office of Institutional Research. If you have questions about assessment, please feel free to contact Richard Wicentowski, Associate Provost for Educational Programs and Curriculum Support and Associate Professor of Computer Science or Robin Huntington Shores, our Director of Institutional Research and Assessment. Robin is assigned 1/3 time to the Provost's Office to help Rich in guiding the faculty in our efforts to assess student learning, and also is the liaison with President's Staff members regarding assessment in other areas.