We have a choice to make. We can do outcomes and assessment work the wrong way, that is, unproductively and cynically, by collecting meaningless scores on trivial assignments just to get the accreditation monkey off our back. On the other hand, we can do outcomes and assessment the right, that is, the useful and meaningful way. That is assessment for improvement - doing useful and meaningful assessment work to improve student learning.
The way John S. Tanner, then Academic Vice-President at BYU, explained the external mandate to articulate outcomes and assess student achievement illustrates the choice to do assessment work the right way. Recognizing that our colleagues in Provo were under obligation to do this work, he said, "We still have choices. We can choose to do this in ways that actually help us get better along dimensions that really matter to us or we can choose to do a half-hearted, perfunctory job. Let us choose to do this well. Let us make a virtue of necessity by building an even better house of learning."