Assessment is primarily course-embedded and provides students with clearly defined expectations, personalized feedback on growth, and timely indications of areas needing extra attention. At the same time, faculty obtain the information needed to identify and respond to the strengths and weaknesses of individual students, of teaching/learning strategies, and of curricula. Finally, the assessment program assists faculty to create an integrated plan for cumulative learning. It is in these ways that assessment contributes to the enhancement of student learning.

The subtleties and complexities of the learning process make its effectiveness inherently difficult to measure. While students learn under a teacher's direction, they also learn beyond the parameters of a syllabus, the assimilation of information, or the acquisition of skills. At King's College all assessments (other than placement exams) are designed by faculty to be administered and evaluated within individual courses. For assessment to have a significant impact on the enhancement of learning, it must take place in the learning environment; and, it must be in the hands of those who assess - the faculty. Freedom to exercise creativity, professional judgment, and specific expertise, individually or collectively, is of pre-eminent importance in the creation, application and analysis of assessment strategies.

The following assessments represent components of the Comprehensive Assessment Program that occur within the Core Curriculum, and at critical junctures in the major, to ensure that students are combining learning in the major with learning in the Core.

  • Placement Tests
    Placement tests are administered to incoming students for the purpose of assigning them to appropriate courses in Critical Thinking, Effective Writing, and Quantitative Reasoning.
  • Course-Specific Assessment in the Core Curriculum
    In the Core Curriculum, faculty, working individually or collegially, design exercises to understand how well students think and communicate within a discipline. These may be administered at the beginning and at the end of Core courses. Specific assignments within the context of courses may also be used for assessment purposes.
  • Competency Growth Plans for the Transferable Skills of Liberal Learning
    Each department or program defines each transferable skill (critical thinking, effective writing, effective oral communication, quantitative reasoning, technology competency, information literacy, and moral reasoning) within the context of the major and then divides the skill into specific competencies for students to develop from the freshman year through the senior year in both Core and major courses. Each plan includes a definition of each competency, an indication of courses and assignments designed to help students develop the competence, and specific criteria faculty and students use to gauge the quality of student performance. These plans are guides for the faculty; students see them translated into syllabi and instructions for assignments within courses.
  • The Sophomore-Junior Diagnostic Project
    Each department or program designs a screening exercise, usually conducted within a required sophomore or junior course for the major, to determine each student's ability to transfer critical thinking and effective communication (writing and speaking) to an appropriate project related to the major field of study. Faculty interacts with students throughout the project and share results with them. If the proper level of skill is not apparent, the student is referred to an appropriate office (such as the Academic Skills Center) for assistance. The process also evaluates the student's likelihood of success in the major.
  • The Senior Integrated Assessment
    Each department or program designs an exercise, usually in the context of a required senior course, a capstone seminar, or a project, to allow the faculty and student to examine the latter's success in integrating learning in the major with advanced levels of the transferable skills of liberal learning.
  • King's Shares Assessment Program with Nation
    Since that time King's curriculum has been featured in various national publications such as Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and Barron's Best Buys in Education. It has also been praised by national educational associations, including the Society for Values in Higher Education.

In addition, the book on assessment in education by the late Dr. Donald W. Farmer, vice president for academic affairs at King's, Enhancing Student Learning: Emphasizing Essential Competencies in Educational Programs (1988), has been distributed nationwide. Members of King's faculty are frequently requested to give presentations on King's curriculum and assessment program throughout the nation, including seven times for the American Association for Higher Education.

In response to numerous requests from educators across the country for information on King's assessment program, Educators from across the country visited King's College to learn about the nationally recognized assessment program, the college hosted a conference, "A Case Study on Integrating Curriculum Teaching and Assessment." Twenty of King's faculty and administrators representing every academic division at the college gave presentations to approximately 50 educators from several states including California, Florida, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, New York, and Pennsylvania.