What is Assessment and its Place in Education? Assessment is one of the newer and more frequently misunderstood words and issues in education circles. Many educators are not quite sure what it is and if it has a place in education. As such, perhaps the six-step conceptual model of assessment I first developed in 1998, have presented nationally and internationally, and now present on the cover will clarify the focus of this issue of Academic Exchange Quarterly. For more details on the model, see the references, publications, and workshops identified below. Briefly stated, the model is constructed upon the following concepts: - Assessment is purposed-based and all steps of the model are purpose-dependent. - Assessment is intended to be formative. - Assessment is not complete until a decision has been made and action taken. - Assessment is an iterative process. Practically, the model explains assessment as a process fit for any organizational level (classroom, program, institution, etc.), in regard to all educational ends (academics, administration, and services) and clarifies "assessment" in relation to purposes, outcomes, measurement, evaluation, and decision making. Assessment as a process begins with the stating of a purpose in terms of what is valued and what the educators wish to do with pedagogy, curricula, and programs to enhance the meeting of that purpose. Outcomes are then stated so that learners and educators know what desired evidence suggests learners' progress toward the purpose as well as the effectiveness of the educators' interventions on behalf of student learners. In response to the purpose, interventions, and outcomes, a design to both measure and then to evaluate (judge relative to the purpose) the progress and interventions must be established. Then data is collected, analyzed, and evaluated by placing it in juxtaposition to the value(s) in the purpose statement and judging the progress of learners and the effectiveness of the educational interventions. At this point, decisions must be made and actions taken to improve the purpose, interventions, outcomes, and/or measurement and evaluation design. This is assessment and in this issue we have positioned eighteen articles that complement the conceptual model as well as demonstrate that assessment has a place in various education contexts. New pedagogy, campus-wide initiatives, end-of-course, and discipline specific examples of assessment are provided. I am glad to see that some of the new, popular pedagogies are being assessed in four articles. We use them, but how do we know if they help students learn? Major and Palmer consider the effectiveness of problem-based learning while Coste and Druker similarly focus on service-learning. Portfolios are considered by Baume and Yorke as well as Fazal, Goldsby, Cozza, Goethals, and Howard. Five articles, when read as a series, contribute much to our understanding and doing of campus-wide assessment. Mueller, Waters, Smeaton, and Pinciotti describe their campus-wide assessment model design and implementation process. Norton and Dudycha contribute to our understanding of identifying learning goals. Klassen and Watson address the assessment of general education. Adams and Slater introduce a web-based adaptive senior exit survey, and McLure and Rao look at college impact on lifetime educational aspirations. And what about the end-of-course assessments like grading, course evaluation, and teaching effectiveness? Davis writes about fairness in grading and Ulmer provides a model of self-grading. Moskal is focused on quality course evaluations while Carey, Perrault, and Gregory link outcomes assessment with teaching effectiveness. Carey, Wallace, and Carey address the assessment of student academic motivation, and Cambiano, Vore, and Snow consider the assessment of learning preferences in distance learning which could impact the entire course. Three field or discipline specific articles provide assessment insights beyond their academic boundaries and are worth your reading. Reynolds, Brothen, and Wambach introduce a writing assessment tool used in psychology. Catelli and Carlino describe the use of collaborative action research in teacher education. Skillen and Trivett give an example from biology regarding the assessment of genre conventions. These authors give you much to assess; including, what you value about assessment, what you hope to see students accomplish, how you assess, and what actions you will take to improve assessment. I invite your comments and make myself available to answer your assessment questions. Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org Dr. Kenneth W. Borland, Jr., Montana State University References Borland, K. (1998, August). Assessment for faculty: The brass tacks and the brass ring. Paper presented at Faculty Development Conference, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT. Borland, K. (1998). The assessment of transition change: Challenged purposes for seeking a college education. The Journal of College Orientation and Transition, 6 (1), 21-26. Borland, K. (1999, June & 2000, June). Getting assessment from faculty: Communicating the brass tacks and the brass ring. Paper presented at the American Association for Higher Education Assessment Conference, Denver and Charlotte, respectively. Borland, K., Howard, R., & Baker, L. (2000, April). Assessment, institutional research, and decision-support. Paper presented at the Colorado Regional Higher Education Assessment Conference, Denver. Borland, K. (2000, July). "What is Assessment?" for educators from Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan. Paper presented at American Studies Scholars Program at Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana. Borland, K. (2000, August). Teaching, learning, curriculum, and assessment. Paper presented at Faculty Development Conference, King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals, Dharan, Saudi Arabia. Borland, K. (2000, August). Assessing general education outcomes in general education, the major, and capstone courses. Paper presented at Faculty Development Conference, Dickinson State University, Dickinson, ND. Borland, K. & Marley, R. (due 2001, April). A conceptual and strategic process for engineering program assessment: a case study at Montana State University. Paper presented at Best Assessment Processes IV: A Working Symposium, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Terre Haute, IN. Borland, K. (due 2002, March). Assessing retention: Six steps and four paradigms. Journal of College Student Retention: Research, Theory & Practice, 4, (3).