Assessing Student Learning

What is Academic Assessment?

Academic Assessment is a faculty activity whereby expert instructors exercise their managerial authority in defining the learning outcomes for their course and the best route by which those outcomes will be achieved for their students.

Academic Assessment also reflects faculty exercising a standard of “quality control,” in documenting and assessing “the type of learning” and “the quality of the learning” that is occurring under their supervision (of the classroom and its students).

Academic Assessment also refers to the analytical moments where the faculty engages in obtaining and interpreting data – reflecting the assignments, the exams or the performances completed or produced by their students.

Purpose of Academic Assessment

The purpose of Academic Assessment is to illuminate what students are learning from Webster faculty, when their learning is “specifically” defined in terms of learning objectives as opposed to “generally” defined without any particular learning objectives in mind. Specific learning outcomes assist faculty and students by narrowing the focus of their attention, within a given subject area, so that they may spend their energies and time concentrating on that which is most important.

Academic assessment is a faculty-based activity whereby expert instructors create meaningful learning objectives, assignments and a schedule for their courses, so that as they implement their curriculum they will be able to document the knowledge and skills students have acquired from their learning. Academic assessment activities serve faculty in their decision-making capacities as they design and monitor high-quality educational experiences.

Classroom Assignments

Classroom assignments at Webster University Worldwide span a range of learning opportunities specifically designed to promote student learning within disciplinary areas. Within the set of assignments prepared for students, faculty will want to include at least one active learning exercise, activity, or project that is purposefully experiential in nature. Webster University Worldwide strives to be an application-based institution of higher learning where students regularly apply concepts, ideas, theories, techniques and creative approaches in order to fully learn the subject under study.

Learning Outcomes

Learning outcomes represent the learning objectives achieved by students in Webster classes. Where faculty have established goals for students to reach, and where students have met the goals, learning outcomes are a result of the objectives established for students. See the directive verb table for examples of words used to initially define learning objectives.


Rubrics are scoring systems to be applied to student homework assignments as well as their performance in the classroom. When compared to grades, rubrics measure, in a more detailed way, what knowledge and skills students possess relative to the subject they are studying.