Philosopher Steven Hales recently published an article at the website of The Chronicle of Higher Education entitled "Who's Assessing the Assessors' Assessors?" There is much worth thinking about here. In my experience, most faculty find outcomes assessment to be at best tedious, and are suspicious of the need, methodology, and even the motives for it. According to Hales, this sort of assessment is an "epistemological quagmire," and concludes that "the mavens of outcomes assessment do exactly the wrong thing—they pretend to have some other method that is the royal road to truth when, prey to the same doubts, it is no more than the path to ignorance."
think the philosophical points raised by Hales are compelling, though
it is the case that at least some faculty do not grade in such a manner
that can be characterized as an accurate assessment of the work and
progress made by a student over the course of the semester relative to
the course objectives. It seems pretty clear that outcomes assessment is
here to stay, such that relying on grades given by faculty will not
stand alone as a method of assessment. However, Hales has offered a
strong case that outcomes assessment over and above course grades is deeply problematic.