Assessment Techniques

There are various assessment tools or ways to measure learning. The key is to match the tool with the type of learning that is to be observed.

When deciding on assessment techniques consider the following:
• Validity—Does the assessment tool measure what the department wants to measure?

• Consistency—Are assessments and scoring consistent across all sections of the course being assessed? (Usually, a departmental grading rubric is helpful to ensure consistency.)

• Fairness—Are the assessment techniques unbiased and value-neutral?

• Meaningful—Are the assessment technique and results meaningful to faculty?

• Manageable—Is the data collection and analysis as uncomplicated as possible? Are they cost effective?
“They are cost effective, yielding value that justifies the time and expense we put into them.” (Linda Suskie, Assessing Student Learning: A Common Sense Guide, p. 18.)

When choosing as assessment method, pinpoint exactly where and when learning is exhibited by students. The following is a list of possible assessment methods. Although indirect assessment methods can be useful in determining students learning, direct methods of assessment should be primarily relied upon.

Direct Assessment Methods: These methods require students to produce a product or demonstrate their learning in a tangible way.

• Focus groups
• Standardized tests
• Faculty generated test or specific test questions
• Term papers, research papers, projects, lab reports, or other key assignments
• Performance evaluations (Particularly useful in CTE or Health Science disciplines)
• Portfolios 

Indirect Assessment Methods: Theses methods capture students’ perceptions of their
level of learning or their attitudes towards learning.

• Focus groups
• Surveys
• Interviews
• Reflective essays

Embedded Assessments and Making Assessments Meaningful

Embedded SLO assessments use assignments and/or tests that are already in place within courses.  They are already considered useful by faculty in determining student learning; therefore, they are already meaningful. When choosing embedded assignments for SLO assessment, pinpoint exactly where and when the learning is exhibited by students. Any assignment or test, or portion of an assignment or test, can be used to measure SLOs.