As a faculty member teaching freshman calculus, I was recently asked to participate in an assessment program. The aim of the program is to "design assessment procedures to measure student learning". This year's program is a pilot and they are asking for volunteers; in the future, participation will apparently become required.
To make a long story short, the instructions are intended to be simple and involve a minimal amount of hassle, but for my course would not be. (In particular, we were told to accept a homework assignment over Blackboard, which is not easy as my students work in pencil and paper and may not have ready access to scanners.)
The drawbacks of this assessment program are obvious to me: they create hurdles for me and, even more significantly, for my students. I would rather spend time on my research and on helping students. And certainly my students would rather do something other than try to find a scanner.
What are the benefits? I can think of a cynical answer: it gives paper-pushers fodder for reports, and allows them the warm glow of feeling that they are accomplishing something. Are there less cynical answers? In particular, is this type of information frequently used to identify and make constructive improvements to undergraduate curricula?