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The Office of Institutional Research directs Smith College’s institution-level assessment initiatives and supports institutional assessment at the departmental level. We provide evaluation and developing assessment infrastructure for initiatives and programs, work with administrators and faculty to identify assessment needs, develop data collection strategies and report assessment results that will support curricular and institutional improvement while fulfilling foundation reporting requirements. Assessment is faculty-driven in order to improve student learning and program quality.

Smith’s Assessment Model

Smith's assessment model


Our assessment philosophy:

  • Focuses on collaboration
  • Integrates with project management
  • Promotes data-driven decisions
  • Supports faculty governance of curriculum
  • Enables sustainability through capacity building

Essential Capacities

Essential Capacities Graphic


Direct Measures of Student Learning

  • Authentic assessment of first-year student writing, conducted by faculty using a campus-designed rubric.
  • Writing to be collected through liberal arts advising portfolios. Tentative plan to begin to assess additional capacities within writing assessment.
  • Pilots in 2006-07 and 2008-09.

  • Conducted with seniors in 2010 and 2011; conducted with first-year students entering 2010 and 2011.
  • Questions and subscores in the following areas: arithmetic, algebra, statistics, probability, graphical interpretation, spatial awareness, deductive logic.
  • Plans to conduct assessment annually with both first-year students and seniors.
  • NSF-funded pilot project in 2010.
  • Administered test to volunteer students, students in specific science classes who volunteered.
  • Faculty scoring session using CAT scoring guide.
  • Consensus was that scoring was too time-consuming for value of test. No plans to continue.