I.                   Introduction

A.    “Nine Principles of Good Practice for Assessing Student Learning” (Astin, A, Banta, T., Cross, P., El-Khawas, E., Ewell, P., Hutchings, P., Marchese, T., McClenney, K., Mentkowski, M., Miller, M., Moran, E., and Wright, B.  (2003), American Association for Higher Education Assessment Forum, AAHE, Washington, D.C.)


1.      The assessment of student learning begins with educational values.

a.       assessment is a vehicle for educational improvement.

b.      assessment is driven by what we most value for students to learn and gain from their experience with us.


2.      Assessment is most effective when it reflects an understanding of learning as multidimensional, integrated, and revealed in performance over time.

a.       learning entails what students know and what they can do with what they know

b.      use of diverse methods for assessment

c.       use of measurements over time to reveal change and growth

3.      Assessment works best when the programs it seeks to improve have clear, explicitly stated purposes.

a.       assessment is a goal-oriented process.

b.      clear, shared goals and goals that can be implemented are the cornerstone of assessment that is focused and useful


4.      Assessment requires attention to outcomes but also and equally to the experiences that lead to those outcomes.


a.       we need to know where students end up, but also how they develop along the way

b.      assessment helps us see how students learn best


5.      Assessment works best when it is ongoing, not episodic.


a.       assessment is a process whose power is cumulative

b.      monitor progress toward intended goals in a spirit of continuous improvement


6.      Assessment fosters wider improvement when representatives from across the educational community are involved.


7.      Assessment makes a difference when it begins with issues of use and illuminates questions that people really care about.


a.       assessment results in evidence that is relevant and people will find the results to be credible, suggestive, and applicable to decisions that need to be made.

b.      it is a process that starts with the questions of decision-makers, that involves them in the gathering and interpreting of data, and that informs and helps guide continuous improvement.

8.      Assessment is most likely to lead to improvement when it is part of a larger set of conditions that promote change.

a.       when the campus values continuous improvement, assessment results will be sought out


9.      Through assessment, educators meet responsibilities to students and to the public.


a.       we have an obligation to the public to improve

b.      the public has an obligation to support our efforts to improve


B.     Elements of Good Assessment

1.      Asks important questions

2.      Reflects the departmental/institutional mission

3.      Reflects identified learning outcomes

4.      Is linked to a plan for decision-making

5.      Encourages involvement

6.      Contains relevant assessment techniques

7.      Is shareable and leads to reflection


C.    Assessment’s Relation to A Program’s Outcomes: (Bresciani, M.J., NetResults, December 9, 2002)


1.      What are we trying to do and why are we doing it?

2.      What do we want the student to learn or know as a result of our program or interaction with our department?

3.      How well are we doing?

4.      How do we know?

5.      How do we use this information to improve?

6.      Does it work?


D.    Potential Benefits of Assessment: (Bresciani, M.J.,  NetResults, December 9, 2002)


1.      reinforce or emphasize the mission of the unit or department

2.      modify, shape, and improve programs and/or performance (formative assessment)

3.      critique a program’s quality or value compared to the program’s previously defined principles (summative assessment)

4.      inform planning

5.      inform decision-making

6.      evaluate programs, not personnel

7.      support the request for additional funds from the university and external community, and

8.      assist in meeting accreditation requirements, models of best practices, and national benchmarks.


E.     Beginning the Discussion


1.      What role do you think assessment has in our organization?

2.      Describe what you think assessment should accomplish in our organization.

3.      What role do you think you would like to have in providing assessment in our organization?

4.      Do you have any concerns or questions about the assessment process that should be addressed as we begin to develop a strategic plan for assessment?

5.      What support structures do you feel you would need to actively participate in conducting assessment projects?


II.                Developing a Strategic Plan for Assessment


A.    Assessment begins with knowing what you want

B.     Define your assessment vision: what do you hope to accomplish?


1.      Where are we going?

2.      What have we accomplished so far?

3.      Define the vision in a short statement that inspires and motivates others

4.      Have a wide-ranging discussion that includes how this assessment vision fits into the larger vision of Student Affairs and the University


C.    Consult with the Institutional Review Board (IRB) of the University


1.      Dr. Sandra Holmes of the Psychology Department is chair of the IRB

2.      She will provide guidelines for ensuring protection for participants in research



D.    Review the type of resources that exist

E.     Decide on a guiding model, such as the Context, Input, Process, and Product model (The CIPP Model of Daniel Stufflebeam) of planning and evaluation (From: Stufflebeam, D. 2001, Evaluation Models; and Rodgers, R., 1979, “A Student Affairs Application of the CIPP Evaluation Model”, in Kuh, G. Evaluation in Student Affairs, 1979).


1.      Examples of other evaluation models

a.       objectives based studies

b.      objective testing programs

c.       outcome evaluation as value-added assessment

d.      performance testing

e.       experimental studies

f.       management information systems

g.      benefit-cost analysis approach

h.      case study evaluations

i.        accreditation/certification approach

F.     Operationalize your plan: assign responsibilities and roles


III.             Initiating the Process  (Upcraft and Schuh, 1996, Assessment in Student Affairs)


A.    Do not do a study that no one wants

B.     Determine confidentiality

C.    Determine who should be involved

D.    Conduct a sound study

E.     Understand what kinds of information you will need to provide in your report.


IV.             Defining Your Assessment Vision


A.    Determine who will be the audience for the results

B.     Determine the appropriate format(s) of the study

C.    Involve the key stakeholders in the planning of the study and allow them to review the instrument drafts

D.    Example of an assessment vision from Syracuse University Office of Residence Life: “To develop and enhance our efforts to gather, analyze, and interpret evidence which describes institutional, divisional, departmental, or unit effectiveness.”

V.                Identifying Resources


A.    Is money available for your assessment needs?

B.     Who is available to analyze your data?

C.    Do you have the cooperation of department and other key stakeholders?

D.    Do you have people to assist with data collection?

E.     Can you offer incentives?

F.     Is your organization supportive of your efforts?

VI.             Developing an Assessment Model Tied To Your Planning Model


A.    Describe your departmental mission, vision, priorities, and values

1.      Mission: This mission is the concise statement of the unique, current, and future purposes of the organization or program (Why do we exist and where are we going?)


a.       needs to be concise

b.      what does the department stand for?

c.       what does the department do for our students?

d.      what impact do you have on your students vs. what programs do you offer

2.      Vision (Example: (“Changing Lives at UWSP”)

a.       compelling

b.      inspirational

c.       calls people to change

d.      offers a “sound bite”


3.      Values


                                               a. what does your department value?

4.      Priorities

a.       based on your department’s vision, mission, and values, what are your priorities?

b.      Are these priorities connected to budget decisions?



5.      Goals: general description of ultimate intended benefits or results or desired outcomes for the program (what core issues and values does the program address?)

6.      Objectives: measurable statements about specific intended  outcomes that a particular program activity or service is expected to accomplish in a given time period.

a.       has a target group (who)

b.      has what is to be done (program)

c.       has a time frame (when)

d.      has a target performance (how much)

e.       has a measurement (how it will be measured)


7.      Objectives that are useful should:

a.       tell who

b.      is going to be doing what

c.       when

d.      how much, and

e.       how we will measure it


8.      Checklist for Evaluating Written Objectives (Ball State University, “Handbook of Assessment”)


a.       uses action verbs that specify definite, observable behaviors

b.      uses simple language

c.       describes student rather than staff behavior

d.      describes a learning outcome rather than a learning process

e.       indicates a single outcome per objective

f.       can be assessed by one or more indicators (methods)

g.      is clearly linked to a goal

h.      is realistic and attainable

i.        is not simple when complexity is needed

j.        is clear to people outside the department

k.      is validated by departmental colleagues


B.     Example of A Goal and Objective (Anti-Smoking Program) (From: Grayson, T., “Constructing Logic Models”, 2000, University of Illinois)


1.      Goal: The life-expectancy of all Americans will increase to 76 years of age by the year 2020 without creating any economic downturns in the Nation’s economy.

2.      Objective: To reduce the number of all teenage smokers by implementing a Nationally funded anti-smoking initiative starting in the year 2000 and continuing until the year 2020, by 98%, as measured by a stratified random sampling of teenagers each year, beginning in the year 2000.


C.    Example of Goal and Objective (Get Ready Program) (From: Grayson, T., “Constructing Logic Models”, 2000, University of Illinois)


1.      Goal: Ensure that all individuals with disabilities acquire self-determination skills necessary for gainful employment or post-secondary schooling after graduation from high school.

2.      Objective: To increase the number of high school graduates with disabilities securing gainful employment or entering post-secondary schools within 6 months after graduation by developing and implementing the Get Ready Program in all secondary schools in Champaign County.


D.    Evolution of a Good Objective (From: Grayson, T., “Constructing Logic Models”, 2000, University of Illinois)


1.      Stage 1: To increase the reading skills of at risk students (customer and expected result)

2.      Stage 2: To increase the reading skills of at risk students ages 14 to 18 (specific target)

3.      Stage 3: To increase the reading skills of at risk students, ages 14 to 18, through tutoring (the program)

4.      Stage 4: To increase the reading skills of at risk students, ages 14 to 18, through tutoring, as measured by the performance on the school district’s reading comprehension test (means of measuring results)

5.      Stage 5: to increase the reading skills of at risk students, ages 14 to 18, through tutoring, as measured by performance on the school district’s reading comprehension test to be administered before and after the program (when the results are expected)

6.      Stage 6: To increase the reading skill of at risk students, ages 14 to 18, through tutoring, and as measured by an average increase of five percent on the school district’s reading comprehension test to be administered before and after the program (the standard of success)

7.      Stage 7: To increase the reading skills of 25 at risk students, ages 14 to 18, through tutoring, and as measured by an average increase of five percent on the school district’s reading comprehension test to be administered before and after the program (the number of program recipients)

E.     Describe your strategic objectives

1.      Learning outcomes

2.      Service outcomes

3.      Program outcomes

4.      Behavioral indicators

5.      Key performance indicators


F.     Describe the activity or program that is designed to impact students


1.      A program is an intentional use of resources to support specific strategies or activities to produce defined results to address strategic problems to achieve the department’s mission

2.      Activities such as training, outreach, maintenance, and management are major strategies.

3.      What is to be done to achieve our intended goals and mission?

4.      Direct products of the program activities could include number of individuals served or the number of training sessions served

5.      How much do you do and for how many individuals?



G.    Describe how strategic objectives will be measured

H.    Describe how reporting of results and feedback from stakeholders will occur


I.       Objectives Vs. Outcomes


1.      Objectives: intended results or consequences of instruction, curricula, programs, or activities


a.       they specify what is expected and describe what should be assessed


2.      Outcomes: achieved results or consequences of what was learned- evidence that some learning took place


a.       outcomes are behaviors and products generated by students after the program is delivered and are the object of the assessment.

b.      outcomes should be realistic, achievable, and directly related to the activities of the program

c.       outcomes can be immediate, short-term, or long-term.



J.      Types of Outcomes


1.      Program Outcomes

a.       illustrate what you want your program to do

b.      present measurable and meaningful statements of what you want the program to accomplish


2.      Service Outcomes


a.       related to program outcomes

b.      Example: Financial Aid- develop a financial aid package that ensures that students have enough money to enroll and stay enrolled in college

c.       Example: Health Center- delivery of health care in a timely and efficient manner


3.      Learning Outcomes


a.       illustrate the learning that you want to occur

b.      assess cognitive abilities, such as critical thinking skills


4.      Developmental Outcomes

a.       assess affective dimensions or attitudes

b.      examples would include being sensitive to the values of others, becoming aware of one’s own talents and abilities, and developing an appreciation for life-long learning


K.    Creation of Learning Outcomes


1.      Learning:

a.       is affected by the educational climate

b.      is an active search for meaning

c.       is developmental- involving the whole person

d.      is done by individuals who are tied to others as social beings

e.       is enhanced by taking place in the context of a compelling situation

f.       is fundamentally about making and maintaining connections

g.      is grounded in particular contexts and individual experiences

h.      involves the ability of individuals to monitor their own learning

i.        requires frequent feedback, practice, and opportunities for utilization

j.        takes place informally and incidentally


L.     Guidelines for Outcomes


1.      Does each outcome describe what the program or department intends for students and/or staff to know, think, or do?

2.      Does the intended outcome meet the following criteria?


a.       detailed and specific?

b.      appropriate to the program or department?

c.       measurable/identifiable?

d.      meaningful in making decisions of how to improve the program?


3.      Does the program have a component to be able to deliver/implement each outcome?

4.      Are multiple methods, if appropriate, used to assess outcomes?

5.      Do the assessment methods include direct and indirect measures of outcomes?

6.      Is each assessment method or tool appropriate to the outcome it is evaluating?


M.   NASPA’s  Six Learning Outcome Categories (Based on the Student Learning Imperative, plus two from Schuh and Upcraft)


1.      Complex cognitive skills: reflective thought, critical thinking, quantitative reasoning, and intellectual flexibility

2.      Knowledge acquisition: subject matter mastery and knowledge application

3.      Intrapersonal development: autonomy, values, identity, asthetics, self-esteem, and maturity

4.      Interpersonal development: understanding and appreciating human differences, ability to relate to others, and establishing intimate relationships

5.      Practical competence: career preparation, managing one’s personal affairs, and economic self-sufficiency

6.      Civic responsibility: responsibilities as a citizen in a democratic society and commitment to democratic ideals

7.      Academic achievement: the ability to earn satisfactory grades in courses

8.      Persistence: the ability to pursue a degree to graduation or achieve personal educational objectives




VII.          Writing Outcomes


A.    Examples of Areas for Student Learning Outcomes (Ball State University)


1.      Self Assessment

2.      Critical Thinking

3.      Values

4.      Goal Setting

5.      Confrontation

6.      Current Events

7.      Community Service

8.      Time Management


VIII.       Examples of Cognitive Development Objectives: Use of Bloom’s Taxonomy

A. Benjamin Boom created a taxonomy that has been used for writing objectives for lesson plans in educational settings.

B.     That taxonomy can also be used to write student learning outcomes.


1.      Bloom’s taxonomy defines six levels in which objectives can be categorized: knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation

2.      Bloom’s taxonomy used heavily in teacher education


IX.             Examples of Bloom’s Taxonomy (Adapted from Bloom, B.S. (Ed.) (1956). Taxonomy of educational objectives: The classification of educational goals:

Handbook 1, cognitive domain. New York: Longmans, Green.; contained in Ball State University, Handbook of Assessement)


Competence                             Skills Demonstrated


Knowledge               - observation and recall of information

                     - knowledge of dates, events, places

                     - knowledge of major ideas

                     - mastery of subject matter

                     - question cues: list, define, tell, describe, identify, show, label, collect, examine, tabulate, quote, name, who, what, when, where, etc.


                 Comprehension           - understanding information

                      - grasp meaning

                                                     -  translate knowledge into new context

                                                     - interpret facts, compare, contrast

                                                     - order, group, infer causes

                                                     - predict consequences

                                                     - question cues: summarize, describe, interpret, contrast, predict, associate, distinguish, estimate, differentiate, discuss, extend


              Application                    -     use information

-          use methods, concepts, theories in new situations

-          solve prolems using required skills or knowledge

-          question cues: apply, demonstrate, calculate, complete, illustrate, show, solve, examine, modify, relate, change, classify, experiment, discover


             Analysis                          -     seeing patterns

-          organization of parts

-          recognition of hidden meanings

-          identification of components

-          question cues: analyze, separate, order, explain, connect, classify, arrange, divide, compare, select, explain, infer


           Synthesis                          -      use old ideas to create new ones

-          generalize from given facts

-          relate knowledge from several areas

-          predict, draw conclusions

-          question cues: combine, integrate, modify, rearrange, substitute, plan, create, design, invent, what if?, compose, formulate, prepare, generalize, rewrite


        Evaluation                           -     compare and discriminate between ideas

-          assess value of theories, presentations

-          make choices based on reasoned argument

-          verify value of evidence

-          recognize subjectivity

-          question cues: assess, decide, rank, grade, test, measure, recommend, convince, select, judge, explain, discriminate, support, conclude, compare, summarize




X.                Examples of Developmental Objectives Using Chickering’s Vectors (Erwin, T. D. (1991), Assessing Student Learning and Development, Jossey-Bass)

A.    Chickering’s Seven Vectors


1.      developing a sense of competence

2.      managing emotions

3.      developing autonomy or independence

4.      establishing identity

5.      freeing interpersonal relationships

6.      clarifying vocational and life purposes

7.      developing integrity


B.     Examples of Applications of  Chickering’s Vectors in Writing Developmental Objectives


1.      Financial Aid: to assist students in planning a budget and help them to realize the value of money (value formation and autonomy)

2.      Career Services: to help students study, experience, and explore various career options; to help students make career decisions (clarifying vocational and life’s choices)

3.      Health Center: to help develop confidence and positive self-perceptions through wellness and health care programs (developing a sense of competence)

4.      Admissions: to help students develop an appreciation for diversity by admitting diverse students (freeing interpersonal relationships and developing integrity

5.      Residential Living: to help students develop autonomy from family and peers (development of autonomy and integrity)

6.      Campus Activities: to help students develop a sense of identity through involvement with organizations and attendance at workshops, lectures, etc. (sense of identity)


XI.             Objectives For Skill Development


A.    Transferable Skills from a Liberal Arts Education (Kings College)


1.      critical thinking

2.      creative thinking and problem-solving strategies

3.      effective writing

4.      effective oral communication

5.      quantitative analysis

6.      computer literacy

7.      library and information technology competence

8.      values awareness


XII.          Example of Applying Student Development and Learning Outcomes to Career Services (Freeman, J. P., Bresciani, M. J., and Bresciani, D., February 10, 2004, NetResults, NASPA)


A.    First, let us start with a sample satisfaction outcome statement: “ ___% of the Career Service participants will agree or strongly agree that career service programs provided information and assistance that were helpful in their preparation to leave the university.”

B.     Next, in order to assess this satisfaction outcome, you could administer a self-report satisfaction survey.

C.    You could also use focus groups or interview students individually in person or do a telephone survey.

D.    Next, you can ask these questions for Career Services:


1.      Will this outcome and assessment method help me understand what it is that I am doing that is leading to the outcome?

2.      Will this outcome and assessment method help me understand why I am doing what I am doing?

3.      Will the evidence collected from this method help me make the decisions I need to make about my program?


E.     Next, consider taking the sample satisfaction outcome and expanding it with student development outcomes in mind:

1.      Students will demonstrate appropriate interview skills during videotaped mock interviews.

2.      Students will articulate a high level of confidence in their career choice.

3.      Students will document their qualifications for a position in their resume and performance portfolios.


F.     In these previous examples, you are assessing student learning and development as an outcome of what your program is trying to accomplish.

G.    Next, you would consider the manner of evaluating these outcomes through several possible assessment methods:


1.      Self-report Survey

2.      Interviews based on criteria

3.      Observations based on criteria

4.      Standardized career service assessment instruments

5.      Student Portfolios

6.      Peer evaluations

7.      Self-evaluation


H.    Next, apply the following questions to the outcomes:


1.      Which outcome and assessment methods will help me understand what it is that I am doing that is leading to the outcome?

2.      Which outcome and assessment methods help me understand why I am doing what I am doing?

3.      Will this kind of evidence help me make the decisions I need to make?


                     I. Next, examine the criteria that you have established and the students’ performance to see if they are demonstrating that they have satisfactorily met that criteria:


                                  1. If the students are performing adequately in that area, you can feel comfortable with that part of your program

                                   2. If the students are not performing as well as you would like in this area, what adjustments or changes to the program would you make to aid them in being more successful?




XIII.       The Measurement Challenge


A.    Collect information that will enable program improvement and communicate value, as well as influence new program development

1.      Start with short-term outcomes

2.      Keep an eye on strategic outcome (solving long-term problem)

3.      Collect explanatory information on program implementation, feedback, and external influences.

4.      Examine the relationship between what you did, what you achieved, and the context

5.      Remember the relationship between short term, intermediate, and strategic outcomes


XIV.       Measurement and Program Management


A.    Key Questions

1.      What long term, strategic problem are we trying to solve?

2.      What causes the problem?

3.      What part of the problem are we addressing?

4.      Who are we serving?

5.      What do we offer those we are serving?

6.      How are they changed?

7.      What will these changes enable them to do better/differently?

8.      What do the intermediate outcomes lead to? (our longer term outcomes, usually the problem to be solved)

9.      What do we do to produce these outcomes?

10.  What resources to we need to implement these outcomes?

11.  What are the external conditions that could influence our success?

12.  What evidence will we need to determine what is working, what is not?

13.  What evidence will I need to tell my program’s success story to others? 


XV.          Measuring Outcomes


A.    Examples (Clemson University Residence Life Program)


1.      Living/learning opportunities for student learning

a.       goal: provide living/learning opportunities that promote student learning

b.      objective: living in housing will be conducive to residents’ academic success

c.       outcome measures: (1) First Year Experience participants will be retained at a higher rate than the retention rate of all freshmen; (2) the average GPA for First Year Experience participants will exceed the average GPA for all new freshmen.


2.      Living/learning opportunities that encourage personal growth and community development


a.       goal: provide living/learning opportunities that encourage personal growth and community development

b.      objective: living in housing will encourage personal growth and community development

c.       outcome measures: seventy percent of respondents to the University Educational Benchmarking Survey will be satisfied with their fellow residents’ attitudes on diversity


3.      Safety for Residents


a.       goal: strengthen the campus community by providing safe on-campus living environments

b.      objective: residents will feel safe in the halls and security breaches will be rare

c.       outcome measure: according to the Police and Fire Department activity logs, there will be no loss of life or serious incident injury resulting from a breech in residence hall security.


XVI.       Operationalization of the Assessment Plan


A.    Assign specific tasks and roles

B.     Decide on formal and informal reporting plan

C.    Identify a dissemination plan

D.    Use your experience to revisit your overall strategic plan for assessment

E.     Process Questions


1.      Do people feel they have the training and knowledge to carry out the assessment?

2.      Do people feel they have the support to move forward with the assessment plan?

3.      Is our assessment plan being used to continuously improve our programs and services?

4.      Are we viewing the assessment plan as a process, rather than a work written in stone?





XVII.    Implementation Considerations


A.    Sampling (See “Conducting and Administering Surveys”)


                                   1. Probability Sampling


a.       Stratified sampling- represents the survey population based on specific variables, is random, and is representative of the larger population

b.      Random sampling

2.      Non-probability sampling


a.       quota sampling

b.      purposive sampling

c.       convenience sampling


3.      Size of the sample (Sommer, B. and Sommer, R., 1997, A Practical Guide to Behavioral Research)


a.       size of the population: larger the population, larger the sample generally speaking (sample of the freshman class vs. sample of student staff in Campus Activities)

b.      available resources and time constraints: researcher’s time availability, budgetary resources, etc.

c.       strength of the effect: smaller samples are good for stronger or more straightforward effects

d.      number of statistical analyses to be performed: multiple statistical comparisons require larger samples (example: need a larger sample size if the researcher is subdividing the sample into social class, age, ethnicity, and gender)

e.       refusal and spoilage rates: larger sample size if the researcher anticipates some data may not be usable or low return rate (example: a group of student employees surveyed at their work site may have an 80% return rate vs. a mailing to an unselected group of individuals may have a return rate as low as 10%.


B.     Use of Multiple Methods  of Collecting Information and Data (Sommer, B. and Sommer, R. 1997, A Practical Guide to Behavioral Research and Bresciani, M., Zelna, C., and Anderson, J., Assessing Student Learning and Development: A Handbook for Practitioners, 2004, NASPA)


1.      Surveys (See “Conducting and Administering Surveys”)

2.      Focus Groups

3.      Use of tracking and counts on program participants and users of services

4.      Observations (casual observations, systematic observations,

5.       Individual Interviews (unstructured interviews, structured interviews, semi-structured interviews, telephone interviews, etc.)

6.      Standardized Instruments

7.      Personal Documents: (research diaries, activity logs, personal diaries and journals, life histories, such as autobiographies, biographies, etc.)

8.      Case Studies

9.      Portfolios

10.  Simulations (environmental simulations, games, role-playing, etc.)

11.  Benchmarking Examples


a.       National Survey of Student Engagement (Center for Postsecondary Research and Planning, Indiana University (2003)

b.      College and University Counseling Center Directors Data Bank  (The Benchmarking Exchange, 2003)

c.       The Association of College and University Housing Officers-International Benchmarking Project (Educational Benchmarking, Inc., 2003)

d.      National Association of Colleges and Employers Career Services surveys (1998)

e.       The National Survey of Counseling Center Directors (The Benchmarking Exchange, 2003)

f.       National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) Benchmarking Project: covers areas such as admissions, bookstores, financial aid, registration and records, etc.

g.      National Association of College and University Food Services (NACUFS) Benchmarking Project


C.    Use of Statistics for Analysis (See: “A Brief Comparison of Quantitative and Qualitative Methods”)


1.      descriptive statistics: mean, mode, median, standard deviations, etc.

2.      Inferential statistics : correlations, analysis of variance, chi squares, etc.


XVIII. Results and Implications    


A.    Report Writing


1.      vehicle for communication of assessment data

2.      can be formal or informal

3.      should accomplish the following:


a.       link data to decision making

b.      connect data to continual redefinition of strategic goals

c.       connect data to continual redefinition of learning outcomes

d.      provide means to improve our impact on students

4.      Questions for the report writing


a.       will readers already be familiar with the study, or will you need to start from scratch?

b.      Do readers have the time to review an extensive report or will they want a short summary?

c.       Will readers want only your findings, or will they want to know how you arrived at them?

d.      Are readers knowledgeable about research methods, or will you need to explain them?

e.       Are readers likely to be friendly or unfriendly toward the results? Can you anticipate criticisms?

f.       Are readers likely to be questioned about the study by others?


B.     Informal Report


1.      Distribute more widely than formal report

2.      Can serve to start discussions throughout campus

3.      Suggested format:

a.       title

b.      summary of project

c.       response rate and brief description of the sample

d.      4 or 5 questions and responses (use graphical representation when possible)

e.       contact information available for people who want to follow up


C.    Formal Report


1.      Front Cover


a.       title of study

b.      name of individuals involved

c.       date


2.      Summary

a.       what was assessed?

b.      when did assessment project occur?

c.       why was the project conducted?

d.      highlights of major findings


3.      Background Summary


a.       relevant literature, when appropriate

b.      goals/history of program

c.        students, faculty, and staff involved


4.      Description of the Study

a.       design of the study

b.      data collection process (including sampling technique)

5.      Results


a.       description of the program

b.      summarize demographic data of respondents

c.       summary of statistical results and qualitative themes

6.      Discussion of Results


a.       what did you learn?

b.      limitations of the study

c.       recommendations for program studied

d.      recommendations for future research