Using Results

Once you have collected your assessment results and made sense of them, you come to the part of the assessment process that makes everything you have done up until now meaningful and useful. There are two general steps in making good use of assessment results: answering a series of questions and acting on the answers. Because your conversation as a department or program is the most important part of the improvement process, both of these general steps are discussed here in terms of conversational prompts.

Prompts for responding to your findings:

  • What exactly did you find for each learning outcome you assessed? Where were students strongest? Weakest?
  • Were your findings straightforward? Complex?
  • Do you have any sense of why students were stronger or weaker on different outcomes?
  • Are there any demographic commonalities among students who performed above or below expectations?
  • Do the findings point to any clear steps you can take, either through curricular changes or through pedagogical changes, to improve student learning in the weaker areas?
  • Is there anything else interesting or useful about your findings?

Prompts for acting on answers to the above questions:

  • Knowing what steps you might take to improve student learning, how exactly might your department or program go about taking them?
  • Who outside of your department or program (if anyone) would need to be involved in supporting your changes to improve student learning?
  • How will your department or program design future assessments so that you know whether your changes improved student learning?

If your assessment data do not offer any usable information, you should consider changing your assessment measures.