Assessment and accreditation are vital and fundamental parts of every institution of higher education learning. Assessment and accreditation focus on the improvement of the quality of education offered to learners in an institution. For many years, assessment and enhancement of various constituents of higher education including how it is governed, what it contains, the ways of learning and the services provided has occurred. This paper defines assessment and accreditation, their pertinence, the pros and cons associated with the approaches to assessment. It also opines on the compatibility of assessment and accreditation with the Christian perspectives and posits on the importance of involving faculty or members of staff of individual institutions on these processes.
Assessment refers to the practice of systematic collection, quantification, and utilization of information with the aim of establishing the effectiveness of an institution and the sufficiency of the curriculum of the institution wholly or its pedagogy programs (Knudson, n.d.). The purpose of assessment is an improvement of learning and progress and efficiency of coaching. Accreditation refers to the practice where a governmental, non-governmental or private firm assesses a higher learning institution’s quality wholly or a certain program so that it officially recognizes that it meets a certain set threshold of standards (Kis, n.d.). The practice’s purpose is to result in awarding of the status of recognition or denial of status. Accreditation is three-phased; self-assessment by the institution in tandem with pre-set standards of the accreditation firm, a survey tour by people selected by the accrediting firm, and evaluation by the commission with basis on evidence and commendation by the selected group which culminates in the accrediting denial or recognition (“Definitions and Purposes of Accreditation,” n.d.).
Assessment has undergone pertinent historical eras in its quest for obtaining the best approaches. However, there are two main approaches; the levels approach and organizational approach. Further, the historical era has changed from accountability-based assessment to improvement-based assessment. The approaches have portended benefits as well as challenges in practice (Lilly, Peacock, & Shoveller, n.d.). The benefits have been boosting of engagement since institutions are more involved in the assessment, assessment has brought competence in results, promoted alignment of institutions towards specific assessed points of weakness and strengths, and meaningful scores have been achieved (“Benefits of a level-based approach to assessment,” n.d.). The main challenges that have since faced these approaches have been expenses incurred in assessment, the insufficient averment of student education, an inconsistency of results, unavailability of benchmark options and difficulty in information gathering for assessment (Kis, n.d.).
The tenets of assessment and accreditation are compatible with Christian worldview since essentially; it upholds the Christian standards on morals and ethics incorporated in the Bible extols students and teachers to know the word of God and be able to decipher dishonest teachings and beliefs, and further exhorts application of ethics in education (2 Timothy 2:15 New King James Version). Their guiding values are; student learning, development of education for a better world, the creation of a culture of improvement, probity, accountability and ethical manners and practices and good institution management for the well-being of every individual (“Guiding Values | Publications,” n.d.). These are similarly amongst what Christian worldview seeks to incorporate in learners in the quest for world progression (Russell & Markle, 2017).
Members of staff and faculty should not oppose involvement in assessment and accreditation. Instead, members of the faculty should view it as an opportunity to be part of the evidential-based assessment which seeks to come up with decisions that are aimed at improvement of the institution (Liu, 2017). It will also impact the faculty members with massive professional development opportunity in assessment since they will be educated in seminars to develop critical thinking.