Office of Educational Assessment

Direct and Indirect Indicators

Direct indicators of learning

  • Capstone Course Evaluation. First step is to evaluate individual performances in the capstone course(s). Next step for faculty teaching the capstone course(s) to draw some conclusions about student learning based on capstone performance and learning goals in the major. Third step is to bring faculty teaching capstones together, preferable with relevant examples of student performance that they can share with others, so that they can draw some conclusions about the departmental curriculum based on their shared experience in the capstones.
  • Course-embedded Assessment. Shared questions on final exams – for example across the same Psychology 209 finals; shared paper topics or types of paper topics in senior-level courses. Responses are evaluated by two or more faculty.
  • External Reviewers. Bringing in community members/ professionals to help evaluate student presentations or performances, senior-theses, or portfolios.
  • External Tests and Exams. ACT-COMP (College Outcomes Measures Program); CRE, ETS’s Major Field Achievement Tests (math, chemistry, biology, computer science, geology, physics, psychology, sociology, education, engineering, foreign languages, music, and literature).
  • Portfolio Evaluation. Faculty determine contents and how portfolios will be used to assess student learning. Assessment is based on departmental goals for student learning. All students create portfolios, which include self-reflection. A sample is examined by a group of faculty who draw conclusions about the departmental curriculum based on their observations about the portfolios.
  • Pre-test/Post-test Evaluation. Can be course-based or curriculum-based. Sometimes called “value added”.
  • Thesis Evaluation. Same as “Capstone Course Evaluation”.
  • Videotape and Audiotape Evaluation. Performance-based for speech, drama, dance. Can combine with #5, so students create a “pre” video early in their major and a “post” at the end of their major. Evaluators can use rubric to assess growth. Method is most powerful if it includes student self-assessment of pre/post video/audiotape.

Indirect indicators of learning

  • Alumni surveys
  • Employer surveys
  • Exit interviews
  • Curriculum analysis and mapping.
  • Student surveys