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as • sess (http://depts.alverno.edu/saal/images/e.gifses') v.t.
[late ME < ML L
assess (us) ptp. of
assidere (ad + sedere)]
to sit down beside

Assessment is a key component to the success of the Alverno Ability-Based Curriculum.  Parameters of Alverno’s assessment model include: individual performance, group interaction, self-assessment, assessor review, assessor consensus, and specific feedback for the student. 

The assessment model that Alverno College developed in the early to mid 1970's was a result of intensive research on testing methods for academic and corporate institutions and an exploration into the nature of learning. It was realized that students should not just know things, but be able to do what they know.  

AT&T, the telephone monopoly of the 1970’s, was one corporation that Alverno collaborated with in researching assessment, assessment centers, and assessment instruments.  Alverno found that AT&T was beginning to use situational simulations to evaluate prospective managerial candidates.  Alverno realized that simulations or “academic performances” could be the basis for ongoing student learning when combined with self-assessment and faculty feedback. The groundwork was laid for Alverno assessment.

Letter about assessment from Sr. Joel Read to an AT&T employee in 1973, p1

A letter about assessment from Sr. Joel Read to an AT&T employee in 1973, p2

Above is a copy of a 1973 letter from Sister Joel Read to an AT&T employee, Joseph L. Moses.


Sister Georgine Loacker was a chief designer and trainer in assessment.

Sister Georgine Loacker‘s experience as an English professor served her well as she worked with other educators to develop  methods for assessing student progress in the  new Alverno learning environment.   She was  a chief designer and trainer in assessment, her contributions to performance assessment methods in verbal and written communication made it possible for faculty to verify, quantify, and improve student learning and achievement.

Sr. Georgine Loacker and Sr. Austin Doherty look at the second edition of "Assessment at Alverno College published in 1985.

The photo above shows Sister Georgine Loacker (l) and Sister Austin Doherty (r) previewing a copy of  the 2nd edition of Assessment at Alverno College, c. 1985.  The cover of the publication being viewed is shown below.

Front cover of the second edition of "Assessment at Alverno college," 1985

The First edition was published in 1979. A third edition, published in 1994 had a slightly modified title, Student Assessment-as-Learning at Alverno College. Additional information on Assessment can be found on the Student Assessment-as-Learning at Alverno College web site. It can also be found on the Alverno College Institute for Educational Outreach web site along with publications on the topic.

Alverno continues to be a leader with its results-oriented approach to education and student learning as described in the article from the Winter 2007 issue of Alverno Magazine below.

Winter 2007 Alverno Magazine article, p. 7 "Alverno's teacher education program and assessment methods make headlines"


The Assessment Center at Alverno College is a multifaceted department that works closely with students, faculty, staff, and the Southeastern Wisconsin business and professional community to provide services related to assessment at Alverno. It has been in existence since the launch of Alverno's ability-based curriculum in 1973. Its reason for existence as been described in Student Assessment-as-Learning at Alverno College (1994) p. 7 as follows:

"We have made a major commitment to assessment at Alverno College. We are committed to assess what each student is learning in every course in our curriculum. Indeed, we consider assessment techniques and criteria as important as topics and texts of courses. We are also committed to assessing student ability outside the classroom. The Assessment Center, with a full-time staff and several hundred trained campus and outside assessors, administers faculty-designed assessments that are broader than single-course ones. In addition to faculty, these staff and off-campus assessors provide interpretive feedback to students throughout the school year."

Alverno has been a pioneer in adapting the assessment center method (developed and once only used in a business setting such as at AT&T) to an educational setting. Here is a time line created by the Council for Student Assessment and Sister Georgine Loacker that depicts the evolution of the assessment center method: Connecting Aspects of the Assessment Center Method with Education [PDF]


Since 1976, people have traveled from all over the world to learn about Alverno's experiences with assessment-as-learning during summer workshops. The article below from the October 2001 issue of Alverno Today, p. 2 was written after the 25th year of workshops.

"25 years of assessment workshops celebrated" Alverno Today, octobeer 2001


Over the years there have been numerous articles in Alverno publications on assessment. Here are links to a few of them:

(March 1983). Alverno and the assessment center movement. Alverno Educator's Newsletter, p. 2. [PDF]

(July 1985). Assessment is all of the above. Alverno Magazine, pp. 3-8. [PDF]

(May 1992). Performance assessment: What does it look like?. Alverno Magazine, pp.7-10. [PDF]