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Is “Assessment” an Evil Word?

EACE contribution by Carol Crosby,Assistant Director in Career Services at Bridgewater State University.

Do you block your ears when you hear the word “Assessment?”  Do you hide in your office when your V.P. asks for student data?  Do you consider creating assessment instruments the devil’s work?crosby-evil

I was that person.  I was asked to join the Assessment Committee for Student Affairs at Bridgewater State University two years ago and dreaded going to that first meeting.  I had visions of incomprehensible homework from my graduate school research methods class pounding through my head. 

From those meetings, where I was tutored in the art of assessment, I brought back to the office a variety of assessment instruments that I incorporated into my work.  But I felt that I was just doing assessment to fulfill the requests of upper management; it didn’t mean that much to me. And my office’s staff groaned when I even mentioned the word in staff meetings.

But a few months into my duties on the Committee, I decided I needed to develop an assessment process that would not only record data easily but also measure what we as career counselors want to measure.  I wanted our office to have a strong purpose to what we taught to students and I wanted assessment that measured whether what we had done actually worked.  Most important, I was hoping to come up with a process that our Career Services staff would not only embrace but like to use.

It took a while, but my work in this area has solidified into a new vision for our office.  We now have a clear sense of why we are doing the work we do, how we can do it, and how to measure it.  Last but not least, counselors in the office now want to incorporate that vision into their workshops, programs and materials and yes, they even like doing it.

Over the next few months, I am going to provide the details of our office’s transition in monthly blogs and look forward to hearing all your comments about the work we are doing on our campus to expand and measure our ability to teach our students to grow into professionals.


Carol Crosby

Carol Crosby

Carol Crosby is Assistant Director in Career Services at Bridgewater State University.  She has also worked in Student Affairs at Wesleyan University, University of Connecticut, and Brandeis University.  She received her M.S. in College Student Personnel from University of Rhode Island and her B.A. in English from Wheaton College.  You can connect with her through LinkedIn or by e-mailing her at

  1. Hi Carol! I look forward to following your office’s transition. Last fall, I became University of Richmond’s Associate Director for Experiential Learning and Assessment, and much like you, am working to integrate assessment efforts into our daily work to better understand and track what we do and why it matters. I hope we can learn from each other!

    January 16, 2015

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