Overview: Effective Interfaith Assessment

Whether you’re new to or practiced in assessing programming, Interfaith America’s assessment resources help you effectively evaluate your interfaith work.

Effective Interfaith Assessment​

Assessing interfaith programs doesn’t need to be difficult. Interfaith America’s (IA) assessment resources help make the process manageable and organized from the start. Whether you’re new to assessment or are already assessing interfaith programs or your campus climate, use the resources below to help you effectively assess your interfaith programming.

Steps to Assessing Your Interfaith Programs

  1. Determine what to assess
  2. Plan your assessment
  3. Collect useful information
  4. Translate assessment into action on campus
  5. Make assessment a continuous practice

1. Determine What to Assess

Assessing interfaith efforts on campus usually involves collecting information about two distinct, yet interrelated areas: (1) students’ learning and development as a result of engaging in interfaith experiences and (2) students’ perception of their campus climate for religious and secular diversity.

Resources to Help You Determine What to Assess

2. Plan Your Assessment

Interfaith America’s step-by-step planning guides streamline the process of identifying and executing an interfaith assessment project. Importantly, our assessment planning resources start with the use of your assessment findings—how you translate your findings into action—as the focus.

Resources to Help You Plan Your Assessment

3. Collect Useful Information

One critical component of interfaith assessment involves collecting information that will ultimately answer important questions, communicate a compelling story, and provide evidence that informs programmatic and other decisions on campus. There are various ways to collect information, each with benefits and drawbacks. The resources below provide practical information to help you develop ways to collect information that are the most useful for your assessment and campus context.

Resources to Help You Develop Surveys

Resources to Help You Conduct Focus Groups

Resources to Help You Use Rubrics

4. Translate Assessment into Action on Campus

A key part of interfaith assessment involves sharing assessment results and using these findings to implement informed change. The resource below will help you consider the various audiences that can benefit from your assessment findings and the types of decisions your findings can inform.

Resources to Help You Translate Assessment into Action on Campus

5. Make Assessment a Continuous Practice

By creating ongoing cycles of assessment, educators can collect information systematically and use those insights to continuously improve interfaith efforts on campus. The resource below helps you understand the importance of this and provides practical tools to help you regularly embed interfaith assessment into your work.

Resources to Help You Make Assessment a Continuous Practice

Additional Assessment-related Information

While IA curates a variety of interfaith assessment resources, we also recommend that those who are interested in learning more about assessment access others’ work.

General Assessment Information

Interfaith America recommends these as basic assessment texts for those just starting to implement interfaith assessment:

  • Henning, G., & Roberts, D. (2016). Student affairs assessment: Theory to practice. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing.
  • Walwoord, B.E. (2010). Assessment clear and simple: A practical guide for institutions, departments, and general education (2nd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  • Snipes, J.T., & Correia-Harker B. (2017). Revisiting the assessment context: A call to interfaith assessment. Journal of College and Character, 18(2), 130-135.

Measuring Students’ Learning

Interfaith America recommends these texts for those who are interested in understanding the various dimensions of students’ learning to assess and techniques to use in and out of the classroom:

  • Fink, L.D. (2003). Creating significant learning experiences. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
  • Barkley, E.F., & Major, C.H. (2016). Learning assessment techniques: A handbook for college faculty (1st ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Measuring the Campus Climate for Religious and Secular Diversity

Interfaith America recommends these texts to understand the significance of students’ campus environments in their learning and development and theories that have guided our assessment research projects:

  • Astin, A.W. (1991). Assessment for excellence: The philosophy and practice of assessment and evaluation in higher education. Washington, D.C.: American Council on Education/Oryx Press Series on Higher Education.
  • Milem, J.F., Chang, M.J., & Antonio, A.L. (2005). Making diversity work on campus: A research-based perspective. Washington, D.C.: Association of American Colleges and Universities.

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