Assessment & Accreditation

What Do We Mean by Assessment?

In higher education today, the term “assessment” has come to mean much more than “grades” or “tests.” In the words of one researcher, assessment, as it is understood by most in higher education today, is “the measurement of the educational impact of an institution on its students” (Terenzini, 1989).

The goal of the assessment process is the improvement of all institutional practices that affect student learning and development.

Institutions that are accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, as Concordia is, are required to document and provide evidence for the teaching and assessment practices that lead to improved learning. Colleges and universities are increasingly turning to technological tools to support and manage those documentation efforts. Concordia uses eLumen as its primary assessment management system. eLumen is a database that stores, aggregates, organizes, and allows for the management and reporting of assessment data.

“The key purposes of assessment are to ask important questions about student learning, to get some meaningful information on these questions, and to use the information for academic improvement.”
–Rossman & El-Khawas, 1987

Assessment Process at CSP: This document outlines the assessment process in an undergraduate program from the creation of student learning outcomes to the reporting of results and planning of improvements.

Everyone involved in the educational process has responsibilities for assessment. Some of those responsibilities are listed below:


  • Assessment of the learning of individual students, classes as a group/section, and the course as a whole
  • Assessment of the effectiveness of specific learning activities (tests, papers, projects, discussions) in helping students achieve course objectives, in helping the course succeed in its objectives, and in contributing to the effectiveness of the program it supports (e.g. General Education, major, minor, licensure, etc.)
  • Timely completion of scoring of assessments (e.g., in eLumen) and regular use of assessment results for program and course improvements.
  • Contributions to the assessment of the majors and programs by participation in departmental assessment efforts.
  • Seeking greater facility and application of assessment strategies.

Department/Program Chairs/Coordinators

  • Leadership in assessment of the effectiveness of departmental courses in meeting the goals of the program (major, general education, licensure, etc.)
  • Oversight of faculty meeting eLumen scoring expectations
  • Use of assessment results for improvements in curriculum and instruction
  • Leadership in the assessment of the department’s majors and programs
  • Writing of annual reports or delegating that task to department members
  • Making greater understanding and application of assessment strategies a part of professional development

Assessment Council Members

  • Semester review of assessment activities of college departments.
  • Oversight of eLumen scoring participation by departments in the college
  • Advising college faculty of appropriate assessment strategies and models; giving feedback for the improvement of assessment practices
  • Promoting and supporting faculty development activities related to assessment.
  • Development of policies and practices to promote effective assessment processes

College Deans

  • Leadership in the assessment of university programs
  • Providing resources for assessment practice
  • Use of assessment results for improvements in programs and departments
  • Use of assessment results for strategic planning and budget decisions
  • Making greater understanding and application of assessment strategies a part of professional development

View Diagram of Assessment Responsibilities

Accreditations for Concordia University

Concordia University, St. Paul, is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The University has been accredited since 1959, and will apply for reaffirmation of accreditation in 2017-18. To view Concordia’s HLC accreditation status, please go to Statement of Accreditation Status.

For more information about the Higher Learning Commission, please visit

Some individual programs at Concordia are also accredited by their professional organizations. Please view these accreditations in the Academic Catalog.