Select/Design Assessment Methods

Alignment of Outcomes, Assessment, and Assignments

How do we know our students are learning? Planning begins with the alignment and relationships between Program Learning Outcomes (PLOs), Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs), assessment and assignments, experiences, and activities.

Program Learning Outcome Course Learning Outcome Assessment: How do you know learning happened? Assignment/Experience/Activities
Students will be able to construct and deliver a clear and effective oral presentation. Students will be able to communicate publicly in a clear, engaging, and confident manner. Using the rubric, do students:
  • Speak clearly
  • Speak with enthusiasm
  • Speak in a confident manner
Create a PowerPoint presentation that summarizes the study completed. Present the PowerPoint using the criteria in the rubric.

Direct vs. Indirect Assessment

Multiple assessment measures are used to asses student learning in academic programs and to provide data sources for curriculum changes and instruction modifications. Assessment tools, such as scoring rubrics, can be used to score student work and also to aggregate data, providing evidence for ways in which students are learning. Faculty select measures most appropriate for their program learning outcomes and collect and assess direct evidence of student achievement. The multiple sources of evidence used at various points might include, but are not limited to, the examples provided below.  

Indirect Evidence

Student Perceptions of their learning Self-assessments
Self-reflection/journal writing
Program exit surveys
Exit interviews
Alumni surveys
Employer surveys
Focus groups
National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE)

Direct Evidence

Assessment of behaviors or products of student learning Student work samples from assignments
Student performances
Oral presentations
Instructor developed tests
Midterm and final exams
Standardized tests
Course grades (using rubric/established criteria)
Capstone projects
Field experiences
SimulationsGroup projects
Case analyses

For more examples of Direct and Indirect Evidence, see: Barbara Wright (2003) "Assessment Methods - A Close-up Look"

Assessment Guides and Resources

Authentic Assessment Toolbox -

Featured in MERLOT, this open source provides a "how-to text on creating authentic tasks, rubrics, and standards for measuring and improving student learning."