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The Commission for Assessment and Evaluation promotes assessment skills and knowledge to facilitate and support student learning, development, and effective student affairs practice.
Originally titled “Commission IX”, the Commission for Assessment & Evaluation (CAE) was among the first eleven functional areas recognized by ACPA in 1961. Over the course of over fifty years, the Commission has continued to grow, benefiting from forward-thinking leadership and an involved membership.
In 1986, Marcia Baxter Magolda chronicled the Commission’s 25-year history and, in conclusion, noted:
“…while activities have changed over the history of the Commission, the major focus during each period accurately reflected the needs of the profession at the time.”
Indeed, this effort to meet the needs of the profession remains a mainstay of the Commission these additional 25 years later.
Since Baxter Magolda’s reflective piece, the landscape of assessment in higher education, in general, and student affairs, in particular, has changed dramatically. Calls for higher education reform took hold late in the decade of the ‘80s and grew powerfully through the 1990s. Increasing demands for institutional accountability left colleges and universities, as well as accrediting agencies, scrambling for means to demonstrate what students were learning and how. Grades, exam scores, and graduation rates – albeit important – no longer sufficed as indicators of learning. Student affairs professionals needed to be able to demonstrate co-curricular student learning and development as well as efforts to improve practice based on evidence.
The Commission’s focus shifted slightly, then, as the territory of assessment moved away from testing and towards student learning and institutional improvement. Efforts to enhance assessment skill capacity for student affairs professionals continued to grow as primary focal point for the Commission. Building on our history and strong foundation, today, the Commission’s mission is to “promote assessment skills and knowledge to facilitate and support student learning, development, and effective student affairs practice.” Among many others, some of the steps taken to help us achieve that mission have included:
- Taking on leadership of the ACPA Student Affairs Assessment Institute – an annual curriculum-based institute designed to help student affairs professionals develop basic assessment skills.
- Sponsoring presentations and institutes on assessment and evaluation at the ACPA Annual Convention.
- Developing and disseminating the Assessment Skills and Knowledge (ASK) Standards under the leadership of Alice Mitchell and Gavin Henning. These standards not only benefited Association members but also served as a critical launching point as ACPA and NASPA sought to develop competencies for the profession.
- Highlighting emerging best practices in the field of student affairs and assessment, first as awards presented to institutions and most recently as a monograph intended to reach a broader student affairs audience.
- Maintaining relevant resources for association members. These resources included for several decades the maintenance of a clearinghouse of testing instruments and evaluations. Today, the Commission links members to online survey tools, assessment offices, and provides assessment tips.
- Nearly doubling our membership from 450 to over 800.
- Increasing our collaboration with other commissions and standing committees (e.g., Commission for Administrative Leadership, Commission for Housing and Residential Life) to reach even broader audiences.
- Crafting a series of monographs and publications for the association membership on such topics as emerging best practices in student affairs assessment and the role of student affairs in accreditation.
As we look to the next 50 years, we have a tremendously solid foundation on which to build. The future of student affairs assessment and evaluation as well as student learning and development will continue to change. As it does so, CAE will be there to meet the ever-changing needs of our profession.
News & Updates
The Commission for Assessment and Evaluation February 2024 newsletter is now live and can be accessed here. Check out the latest opportunities to get involved, job postings, and more! Visit this link to subscribe for regular updates to CAE.
The Commission for Assessment and Evaluation December 2023 newsletter is now live and can be accessed here. Check out the latest opportunities to get involved, job postings, and more! Visit this link to subscribe for regular updates to CAE.
The Commission for Assessment and Evaluation is excited to present our first webinar of the year: Working with Assessment with a Non-Traditional Assessment Background. The webinar will occur on Friday, December 8th, from 11:30am-12:30pm (Standard Eastern Time). Our...
The ACPA Commission for Assessment and Evaluation (CAE) is currently recruiting assessment-minded professionals to serve on our Directorate Board! We have approximately 7 Directorate positions open beginning with the 2024 ACPA Convention, as well as an opening for...
For the 2023 Student Affairs Assessment Institute, co-chairs Drs. Shaun Boren and Paul Holliday-Millard led a diverse group of professionals to re-imagine and modernize the institute experience. For a better part of a year, the co-chairs and institute faculty...
We are excited to announce the ACPA Commission for Assessment and Evaluation inaugural awards! You do not need to be an ACPA member to be selected. Nominations are due November 1st. These awards are for early career professionals and those centering equity in their...
ACPA’s Student Affairs Assessment Institute, sponsored by the Commission for Assessment and Evaluation, provides a guided, curricular experience where participants can develop essential assessment knowledge and skills for their professional toolkit. It offers a...
For nearly a decade, ACPA’s Student Affairs Assessment Institute has served as the premier gathering of student affairs professionals seeking to build capacity in assessment. Whether you a brand new to assessment, taking on new responsibilities in your unit, or...
By: Becky Haas and Matt Venaas Best practices for visualizing data may not be the first thing we naturally focus on in our assessment work. But, if a fundamental goal of doing good assessment work is to make a difference on our campuses and enable others to take...
By: Vicki L. Wise and Lisa J. Hatfield Perhaps you are interested in publishing but have never written an article. It can be intimidating to know where to begin. We suggest that you start with a recent conference presentation! In our book A Guide to Becoming a...
Do you LOVE student affairs assessment, even if it’s not your full-time job? Join the Commission for Assessment & Evaluation to stay up-to-date with all things higher education assessment.
Ready to join?
Joining an Entity through the ACPA Member Portal automatically identifies you as a member of that Entity! You will begin to receive Entity communications and have access to any resources they share!
- Login to your ACPA Member Account
- Click on Community Groups (Chatter)
- Click Groups
- Click Active Groups
- Search for the Commission for Assessment and Evaluation, then click +Join
Any ACPA member can become involved and there are varying levels of involvement:
- Join our listserv (sign up under “my profile” in the ACPA membership area)
- Attend our open business meeting at the annual ACPA convention
- Review conference programs for the annual convention
- Submit a sponsored program proposal for the annual convention
- Host a webinar
- Apply for a CAE award
- Tell us how CAE can help you in your professional journey
Our Directorate Board is made up of a variety of people all who are dedicated to helping us accomplish our mission. Each year the Directorate board develops teams, sets goals for each team and members work year-round to accomplish their goals. This year’s goals include having fun, developing educational sessions targeted at new and mid-level professionals, developing our on-line tools and resources, providing educational sessions at Convention and solidifying our communications plans. If you like to write about assessment, plan or facilitate education sessions, help us better utilize social media or just want to learn more about assessment while applying your event planning or communication skills, consider running for our Directorate board.
The Ohio State University
Education Committee Co-Chair
University of North Carolina, Charlotte
Education Committee Co-Chair
Membership Committee Co-Chair
James Madison University
Membership Committee Co-Chair
The George Washington University
Assessment Institute Co-Chair
University of Hawaii, Manoa
Assessment Institute Co-Chair
Austin Van Horn
Chief of Staff
Eastern Mennonite University
University of Colorado, Boulder
Western Michigan University
University of Florida
Rutgers University, New Brunswick
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
San Jose State University
Appalachian State University
University of Oklahoma
University of Arizona
University of Florida
Every year, the Commission for Assessment & Evaluation recognizes dedicated assessment professionals at convention. The open nominations process allows professionals across the field to nominate themselves and others for recognition of their service.
CAE currently offers two awards: Outstanding Early Career Professional and Excellence in Equity-Centered Assessment. Visit this page to learn more about the award criteria.
The Assessment Skills and Knowledge Standards
The ASK (Assessment Skills and Knowledge) Content Standards were developed by the Commission on Assessment and Evaluation to to articulate the areas of content knowledge, skill and dispositions that student affairs professionals need in order to perform as practitioner-scholars to assess the degree to which students are mastering the learning and development outcomes we intend as professionals. The ASK Standards can be used as a standalone resource to support development of assessment capabilities, or as a supplement to other materials (e.g., the ACPA/NASPA Professional Competencies). An overview of the ASK Standards is provided below and is also available in the ACPA Member Resource Center.
In the field of assessment in higher education, many professionals have extensive academic and professional backgrounds that are commonly understood to be closely-linked to assessment work, such as degrees in data analytics, policy studies, student affairs, and others. Taking pride in the field’s accessibility to all who take interest in assessment work in higher education, the Commission for Assessment and Education ponders the pathways into the field for professionals who may not hold a readily-recognizable degree or professional position that is linked to the assessment field, including the potential pathways graduate students, new professionals, or professionals thinking of shifting to the assessment functional area may view as available to them.
Many departments within and outside of Student Affairs create employment and leadership development opportunities for students. As beyond the classroom educators, we should view these contexts for what they must be—highly effective learning experiences. However, assessing this learning in a meaningful manner can be difficult. Attend this webinar to learn how departments at the University of Southern Mississippi have enhanced the educational potential of these experiences using intentional learning-focused conversations, AAC&U’s VALUE Rubrics, and sound pedagogy.
Featuring Amy Homkes-Hayes and colleagues. University of Michigan’s Student Life has advanced research and practice on student learning using integrative learning pedagogy. Integrative ePortfolios measured by action based research have demonstrated significant gains in student learning. The scope of research has widened to include content analysis and controlled experiments. Integrative outcomes have also served as models for measuring student life wide student learning outcomes. In this session, practitioners and researchers examine both effective approaches to measuring student learning, and the practical implications of the research.
Many colleges and universities across the United States have created committees, departments, and leadership roles dedicated to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus.
In this webinar, Ryan J. Davis, Director of Assessment and Educational Programs at Purdue University, will provide an overview of a variety of approaches that campus officials may employ to fit their institutional and departmental missions, values, goals, and cultures. Specifically, participants will be able to identify multiple approaches to assessment and planning that enable campus officials to demonstrate the breadth and depth of their diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts within and across each campus unit.