What are our students learning, and have they met the goals we set for our courses? The answers to these questions are critical to enhancing the effectiveness of teaching to advance learning. Assessing student learning involves articulating measurable learning objectives or outcomes, designing valid measures to evaluate student performance, and interpreting the results. A CATLR consultant can work with you on all phases of this process.

Consultation on outcomes assessment is also available for programs and departments.

Student Learning Outcomes

Student learning outcomes are measurable and student-centered. They describe what the learner should be able to achieve or accomplish by the end of their course, program, degree, or university education. Articulated outcomes should identify the set of knowledge, attributes, skills, and capabilities that students should possess. A CATLR consultant can assist in developing student learning outcomes that are measurable and allow for the collection of data that can be used to improve outcomes.

Measuring Student Learning

Collecting data (not grades or GPA) to demonstrate student learning can be done using direct and indirect assessment methods and can be supplemented with additional information (e.g., data collected by Institutional Research).

Direct assessments involve looking at student work (e.g., assignments, exams, final projects, research papers, presentations) that is evaluated using some sort of assessment tool, such as a rubric.

Indirect assessments gather information through other means and can come in the form of student surveys, graduating senior interviews, focus groups, and so on. A CATLR consultant can help to find the appropriate assessment methods for your purpose, help you design the tools, and provide guidance and support.

Interpreting the Data

Assessment methods can result in quantitative and/or qualitative data. A CATLR consultant can assist with the analysis of the data collected to better understand the extent of student learning in your course, program, or degree.

Implementing Changes

The assessment of student learning is cyclical, as the results of assessment feed back into classroom practice. CATLR consultants can help you use formal, intentional, data-driven methods to design and implement an assessment cycle that enhances student learning.