Assessing Student Learning in Higher Education

Author's Home Page 

Section 1

Section 2
Background and Rationale for Assessment

Section 3
Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

Section 4
Assessment Tools and Data

Section 5
Course Assessment

Section 6
Program Assessment


Section 7
Closing the Loop
Recording Data
Using Data
Budgeting, Planning, and Improving
Principles of  Good Assessment

Section 8
Implementing Assessment Training on Campus


Section 9
References & Resources



Using Materials from this Website



Closing the Loop

The purpose of assessment is primarily improvement. In order for improvement to occur, the assessment loop must be closed. Without closing the loop this simply becomes another externally mandated requirement, serving only for accountability.  The good news is that closing the loop does produce rather immediate results, particularly in courses. As you begin to work with assessment practices you will find that it is also a valuable tool to promote learning, not only in the classroom, but amongst faculty and staff.

Develop, modify, or review a curriculum, course, program, or service.


Develop or modify Student Learning Outcomes SLOs


Design & Measure Student Learning as a result of the Curriculum, Course, or Program


Collect, discuss, and analyze data.


Determine refinements based on outcomes data.

  Closing the Assessment Loop

Dr. Barbara Beno at ACCJC-WASC shared this diagram to provide a picture of the iterative processes involved in assessment and the holistic impact on institutional effectiveness.

Institutional Mission

Educational Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Measurable Performance Criteria


Feedback for



     Educational Practices/Strategies

Collection, Analysis  of Evidence

Evaluation : Interpretation of Evidence


Institutional Effectiveness Cycle: Assessment for Quality Assurance By Gloria Rogers


Course Assessment





It is better to close the loop on a single SLO than to partially assess all SLO. For this reason you should focusing on one or two SLOs. For some faculty that may mean one or two SLOs per course, and one or two program SLOs and if the faculty member is involved in institutional assessment, another one or two SLOs.

The key for faculty is recording the data immediately.



  Proceed to Recording Data


Janet Fulks
Assessing Student Learning in Community Colleges (2004), Bakersfield College