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ERIC Number: EJ791169
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-1041-6099
Closing the Feedback Loop Is Not Enough: The Assessment Spiral
Wehlburg, Catherine M.
Assessment Update, v19 n2 p1-2, 15 Mar-Apr 2007
For quite some time, the call to close the feedback loop has been heard throughout higher education. Faculty and administrators have paid attention, and now they can more easily than ever point to the fact that at their institution, the feedback loop is almost always closed. As reviewers from accreditation teams visit campuses, they often hear the language of assessment spoken and sometimes even see it in practice. However, the feedback loop as a concept is only two-dimensional. It is a never-ending circle that involves goals and outcomes, measurements and findings, and changes in the curriculum based on those findings. In this essay, the author argues that while closing the feedback loop is essential, it is not enough and that educators must continually monitor and intentionally increase the quality of each assessment cycle. She states that many campuses with active assessment programs have moved away from the two dimensions of the feedback circle and are thinking of assessment as an upward spiral, still identifying goals and outcomes, still measuring those outcomes, but with ever-increasing improvement of the quality of student learning as the spiral moves upward. The assessment spiral is a model that can be used to generate many discussions, even across disciplinary lines. It can create a climate of assessment that benefits students, faculty, and an entire institution. This process will strengthen the educational system, reduce the frenzy over upcoming accreditation visits, and ensure that there is continuous growth in the quality of students' learning.
Jossey Bass. Available from John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774. Tel: 800-825-7550; Tel: 201-748-6645; Fax: 201-748-6021; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A