Do a quick Google search for assessment cycle or evaluation cycle and you’ll find thousands of variations. It’s easy for a newly emerging culture of assessment to stall as the participants agonize over which is the right way, which is the most thorough way, which is the perfect way to evaluate an instruction program.

I’ve been through many assessment processes and have experienced those long pauses firsthand. I have come to realize that the first and most important step is to simply have a conversation. Yes, there are rigorous assessment projects that require exceptionally detailed methods and a close involvement with the institutional review board, and there are myriad models that have language similar to these questions and to each other. Yet so much of building and measuring an instruction program starts with everyone on the team—regardless of their level of assessment expertise—knowing what we’re doing and why and being able to clearly articulate it.

Instruction and assessment scholars have written about the critical importance of collaboration in building a culture of assessment, with a common emphasis on collegial, transparent processes.1 Whether leading a team of experienced evaluators or building a new assessment project from the ground up, careful reflection up front can facilitate smoother communication down the road.


Library and Information Science


Original Citation: O’Kelly, M. (2015). Seven Questions for Assessment Planning: A Discussion Starter. College & Research Libraries News, 76(9), 488–494.