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Office of Assessment for Curricular Effectiveness Division of Academic Engagement and Student Achievement

Assessment Measures and Data

Program-level assessment measures are tools used to gather student learning information (data) to support decision-making about teaching, learning, and curricula. These assessment measures typically fall into two categories: direct and indirect.

  • Direct measures are assessments of students’ performances or work products (by faculty or other professionals) that provide demonstrated evidence of student learning on skills and knowledge identified in program-level student learning outcomes (SLOs).
  • Indirect measures include perspectives, input, and indicators (from students or others) that provide evidence related to student learning (e.g., perceived gains or confidence in specific skills or knowledge, motivation, satisfaction, the availability or quality of learning opportunities, student progress, etc.).

Direct and indirect measures come in many forms (see resources linked below), and may vary to best meet the needs of the program.

Value of Assessment Measures and Data

Direct measures reveal what students have learned and to what extent, while indirect measures can provide information as to why students learned or did not learn. Indirect measures can also guide faculty members in thinking about how to interpret results and make improvements. In this way, collecting direct and indirect measures of student learning in tandem allows programs to gain a fuller picture of student learning.

In this context, assessment measures and resulting data can:

  • Provide an appraisal of the extent to which students are achieving program-level SLOs, including senior majors as they near graduation
  • Shed light on the effectiveness of the curriculum and the students’ collective academic experiences, revealing areas of strength and weakness
  • Provide valuable information to check assumptions about student learning
  • Allow programs to examine matters of vital interest, including curriculum design, instructional practices, student development, and issues of equity
  • Provide a basis for decision-making and action to improve and maintain an effective curriculum
  • Be summarized by program faculty and committees, to share key findings with others who can use them

Assessment Measures and Data at WSU

WSU undergraduate degree programs are responsible for regularly collecting direct and indirect measures to assess student performance on program-level SLOs. Direct and indirect measures come in many forms and WSU encourages programs to choose measures that fit their needs and disciplinary expectations.

Senior-level Measures. An effective system of assessing student achievement includes measures at the senior level, near graduation, providing information about what students are able to achieve at the end of the program. WSU expects programs to regularly collect senior-level measures of student learning, providing programs with information about learning outcomes achievement and experiences as students are completing the curriculum.

Assessment Measures and Data Resources and Toolkits

The following resources are provided to assist departments and programs as they choose, develop, implement, and refine measures for assessing student learning as part of program-level assessment. ACE provides resources for programs on particular aspects of assessment measures:

ACE Services for Assessment Measures and Data

We’re here to help — contact us for more information or to request our services

  • Provide consultations and workshops to address specific needs
  • Collaborate on the design of assessment measures and tools (rubrics, surveys, etc.)
  • Conduct focus groups
  • Analyze assessment data and present results

Spotlights Related to Assessment Measures and Data

Highlighting program assessment in action

See more spotlights related to assessment measures and data in our News Blog.