How well is Virginia Military Institute accomplishing its mission? This question is what drives institutional effectiveness initiatives. Answering this question is accomplished through cyclic assessment activities at all levels of the Institute’s operations, with particular emphasis given to educational programs, administrative support units, and academic and student support services. By measuring the extent to which identified outcomes in each of these three areas (and units within these areas) are achieved, we are able to make inferences about overall institutional effectiveness. This information is then used to determine if changes are needed in operations (e.g., curriculum, pedagogy, or services offered). Once the changes are implemented, we again assess their effectiveness, and so on.
Assessment & Accreditation
Assessment is important. It requires administrators, faculty, and staff to thoughtfully consider what they are trying to achieve though the identification of expected outcomes. Once identified, these outcomes are assessed with an appropriate metric (e.g., rubric, multiple-choice test, or survey), which leads to evidence-based decision making. This ongoing cycle of planning, assessing, and closing the loop ensures that we take time to reflect on what we’ve done, how well we’ve done it, and how we might make improvements.
VMI’s accrediting body, the Southern Association of Schools Commission on Colleges, believes so strongly in the value of this process that it requires member institutions to demonstrate continuous improvement in educational programs, administrative support services, and academic and student support services. Specifically, SACSCOC requires that institutions document that campus units (e.g., a program major or academic service) identify expected outcomes, assess the extent to which they achieve those outcomes, and provide evidence of improvement based on data gathered in the assessment. For more information, see Comprehensive Standard 188.8.131.52 in the Principles of Accreditation.
Assessment of Academic Programs & Academic & Non-Academic Services
VMI-specific assessment policies and procedures can be found in General Order 77.