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 (by faculty or other professionals) of students work products or performances that provide demonstrated evidence of program-level student learning outcomes (SLOs) (i.e., skills and knowledge).
- Indirect measures include perspectives, input, and other indicators (from students or others) that provide evidence related to program-level SLOs (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 majors as they near the end of the curriculum
- 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.
Measures Near the End of the Curriculum. An effective system of assessing program-level SLOs includes measures collected near the end of the curriculum, providing information about what students are able to achieve at the end of the program. WSU expects programs to regularly collect measures near the end of the curriculum, providing programs with information about achievement of program-level SLOs as students are completing the curriculum.
Assessment Measures and Data Resources and Toolkits
The following resources are provided to assist programs and faculty 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: