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

Direct Evidence

Assessment of behaviors or products of student learning


Student work samples from assignments

Self-reflection/journal writing Student performances
Program exit surveys Oral presentations
Exit interviews Instructor developed tests
Alumni surveys Midterm and final exams
Employer surveys Standardized tests
Focus groups Course grades (using rubric/established criteria)
National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) Interviews
  Capstone projects
  Field experiences
  Group projects
  Case analyses

For more examples of Direct and Indirect Evidence, see

Barbara Wright (2003) "Assessment Methods - A Close-up Look"

For an excellent resource for designing an assessment of student learning, see:

D'Allegro, M. (2011). Any questions? Assessment Update, 23(4), 6-8. Retrieved January 30, 2011, from