Reviewing Assessment Findings

One of the more difficult aspects of assessment is making sense of the data, that is, understanding what it suggests about the program's collective strengths and weaknesses. To effectively make sense of the data, it is necessary to organize and examine it in a quantifiable way in order to identify significant trends in the data. These trends may well indicate the program's or course's overall strengths and weaknesses. An initial question concerns the validity of the data: that it is accurate, representative, and useful for deciding actions to improve.

Questions to consider about data quality

  • Is it relevant to the outcome being assessed?
  • Is it representative of students work or the situation being assessed?
  • Does it provide guidance for action and improvement?

Questions to consider about data meaning

  • What is the data telling you about what and how well students are achieving the learning outcomes for the program?
  • Do the findings make sense?
  • What additional information is needed?
  • In what areas do students often have difficulty in the program or course?
  • How consistent is student learning across multiple sections of the same course?