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Student Assessment at Indiana University Northwest

An Assessment Center is most commonly used for selection, promotion, and employee development purposes within an organization. Assessment centers, in the traditional sense, are not common in the academic setting. For one thing, there is no job on which to base the assessment. However, with some minor adjustments, the assessment center approach can assist students in developing the skills that they need to succeed in school and in the workplace.

We have two primary goals for the Assessment Center at Indiana University Northwest. First, we want to ensure that students who leave Indiana University Northwest are able to succeed in their chosen fields. We want them to be able to find employment and perform well in their jobs. Second, we want to ensure that our program is functioning effectively at the university level. We want to ensure that students are successful in school and that our courses are effective in correcting students’ deficits.

To achieve these goals, we have chosen competencies that we have identified as being highly sought by employers as well as important to academic success. These competencies are encompassed into the following categories:

  • Critical thinking
  • Written communication
  • Interpersonal communication
  • Teamwork
  • Customer relations
  • Leadership
  • Delegation
  • Coaching
  • Ethics
  • Cost-benefit analysis

These competencies are evaluated using six exercises that include role plays, a group activity, and written cases. Students will complete the Assessment Center in their freshman year and in their senior year.

This approach benefits students in several ways. First, students are introduced to key skills that employers look for in applicants. Second, students are able to spend their time at Indiana University Northwest improving deficits identified in the Assessment Center. Students prepare a development plan based on the feedback from the Assessment Center. The development plan establishes goals for improving deficits using coursework and other Indiana University Northwest activities. Lastly, Indiana University Northwest uses the Assessment Center data to modify coursework to further benefit the students and better prepare them for the workplace.