National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version



Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council, Vol. 17, No. 1 (Spring/Summer 2016).


Copyright © 2016 by the National Collegiate Honors Council.


Assessment and evaluation practices within honors programs have attracted considerable attention within the honors academic community, e.g., the spring/summer 2006 volume of the Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council. Calls for carefully created and constructed assessment activities within honors programs have met with mixed responses by directors who identify the difficulty in assessing decentralized, complex learning environments, noting that standard measures such as tests, surveys, or essays are not always applicable or appropriate in addressing honors assessment needs, especially in areas of social justice, service learning, and community engagement (Corley & Zubizarreta; Lanier). Acknowledging the hesitancy of honors directors about the need for assessment as well as their concern about the development of authentic assessment practices, Lanier nevertheless encourages honors directors to embrace quality assessment activities as a way to demonstrate the value and importance of honors and its enhanced student learning. Lanier offers the following comments:

We now need to do the right thing in honors education and develop reliable assessment practices that will generate reliable data and demonstrate convincingly that honors does have the impact on students that we all assert as a matter of faith. “Trust me, honors is important and our students do very well” just doesn’t work anymore no matter how much we may want to fuss or drag our heels. (88–89)