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An Accreditor’s View of Assessment

A discussion with Jessica Silwick from ABET

February 24, 2022

ABET, formerly known as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc., has been a leader in promoting assessment as a critical component of professional and/or disciplinary accreditation broadly. This episode of Next-Gen Assessment features ABET’s Jessica Silwick, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer, in a wide-ranging conversation about ABET’s leadership in promoting assessment. Ms. Silwick offers significant insights into how to reframe assessment from an administrative, accountability mandate to a truly faculty-led and faculty-driven enhancement to programmatic praxis.

As framing for this conversation, ABET writes that

Assessment of student learning, with a focus on continuous improvement, is key to ensuring the quality of educational programs and preparing graduates to enter a global workforce. In an era of accountability and transparency, outcomes assessment has become an international standard of quality.
ABET-accredited programs have processes in place to determine levels of student outcome attainment. Evaluation of the data collected in these processes are used to facilitate evidence-based continuous program improvement. In addition, programs must first establish educational objectives for their graduates consistent with the needs of program constituencies.
No single, templated process works for all programs. However, foundational principles can be adapted and applied by any program to help ensure that its continuous improvement processes produce meaningful results.
To help educators create effective sustainable assessment processes, ABET offers a variety of resources, including workshops, webinars and a collection of references, that detail best practices in continuous improvement.

Learn more at

This interview is part of the Next-Gen Assessment multimedia series coordinated by M. David Miller (University of Florida), Tammie Cumming (Brooklyn College, CUNY), Gladys Palma de Schrynemaker (CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies), and Kate McConnell (AAC&U).