James Madison University

New Graduate Certificate Program in Higher Education Assessment

As a leader in assessment, JMU's Center for Assessment and Research Studies and the Assessment and Measurement Ph.D. program receive frequent requests for trainings, workshops and presentations on assessment practice by institutions and individuals who are trying to meet accreditation and accountability demands. This certificate was designed to meet that need while recognizing that assessment practitioners desire professional development that fits into their busy lives.  The first cohort of students is currently enrolled.

This online certificate program will provide the most up-to-date information about assessment practice in higher education, and help students develop skills to apply that knowledge at their institutions. All coursework in this program is delivered entirely online, making it convenient for professionals’ busy schedules.

The program consists of four semester-long courses on the following topics: public policy related to assessment, measurement and assessment design, instrument design for higher education assessment, and assessment consultation in higher education.  Specific objectives of the program are:

  • Students will discuss policy issues in higher education and how policy affects assessment practice in colleges and universities.
  • Students will develop professional assessment skills, including instrument design and consultation, through applied projects and experiences.
  • Students will participate in all phases of the assessment process working on an assessment-related experience at his or her home institution.
  • Students will develop, select, and critique higher education assessment instruments guided by modern validity theory.
  • Students will identify the appropriate measurement tools and statistical analyses needed for common assessment situations.
  • Students will develop communication skills necessary for assessment practice including: interpersonal, consultation, and professional etiquette


Admission to the certificate program requires completion of at least a bachelors degree (B.A./B.S.) and a working knowledge of basic statistics including hypothesis testing, correlation, regression, and significance testing including analysis of variance. Applicants are encouraged to be engaged in or have an opportunity to engage in assessment practice at their home institutions. The next cohort will begin in Fall 2010; applications will be accepted beginning in the summer of 2010.

For more detailed information about the certificate, go to http://www.jmu.edu/outreach/assessment.shtml

If you have additional questions you may contact the Program Coordinator:
Robin Anderson, Psy.D.
Associate Director of the Center for
Assessment and Research Studies
Associate Professor, Graduate Psychology