Skip to Main Content

Office of Academic Assessment

Information on equity-minded assessment of student learning at Emerson, including resources, programming, and reports.

Understanding Assessment of Student Work

The Office of Academic Assessment collects student work so that we can anonymously evaluate student learning at Emerson College. Academic assessment has multiple purposes: 

  1. First and foremost, assessment helps us gauge if students are learning what we're trying to teach;
  2. Student learning assessment enables departments to make informed decisions about changes to program requirements; and,
  3. Assessment allows us to demonstrate students’ achievement of the skills and knowledge included in the College's learning outcomes.

What do we collect?

Samples of student work; these may include written work, recorded performances, images of artistic work, and/or other materials produced as part of your course work at Emerson. This material is the “data” of academic assessment.

How do we collect data?

Faculty Fellows participate each semester in the Learning, Equity and Assessment Program (LEAP). LEAP Fellows design an assessment project for their department and identify faculty teaching courses in which student learning is being assessed. Faculty instructors submit student work to the Office of Academic Assessment, which securely stores the files and anonymizes the work by removing students’ names*, as well as faculty identifying information wherever possible. For instance, if we are looking at four course sections being taught by four faculty members, all student and faculty identifying information is removed; if multiple course sections are being taught by the same faculty member, all student identifying information is still removed. 

*Student performances by nature cannot be anonymized; we use video release forms when student performances are recorded for the purposes of assessment.

What do you do with my work?

We use the samples to evaluate students’ achievement of the program learning objectives faculty use in creating their course learning objectives. The data helps departments review their curriculum and make changes to ensure equitable learning opportunities for Emerson students. For instance, we might look to see how well students who took an Aesthetic course met the outcome: “Develop critical faculties in regards to the arts, enhancing their ability to make personal and qualitative judgments of each.”  The Institute could use the results of that data to inform future conversations about how Aesthetic courses are structured.

Who has access to my work?

Only the Office of Academic Assessment staff, the Faculty Fellow leading the project, and the faculty members who are reviewing student work will have access to the anonymized materials. Your instructor will send your sample work to the Office of Academic Assessment, which deidentifies it before sending it to the LEAP Faculty Fellow and faculty reviewers. 

What are the risks of participating?

Assessment of student learning is a standard practice within higher education, and it is governed by a set of best practices; this means that faculty reviewers will review anonymized copies of your work after you have completed the course and your grade has already been submitted. We do not anticipate any risks to you as a result of the assessment process.

Do I have to participate?

No; if you prefer not to have your work included in assessment studies, please email the Office of Academic Assessment. Your instructor will not be notified that you have opted out of the assessment. The Office of Academic Assessment will remove your work from the sample before work is deidentified and evaluated. Your faculty member will still have your work for grading purposes for the course and will not know whether your work was also used for academic assessment. 

Who should I contact if I have questions?

Liz Chase, Senior Associate Director, Academic Assessment

Revised September 22, 2021