Assessing Student Learning in Higher Education

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

Recording the Data

Managing the data depends upon the type of assessment tool used. Electronic surveys using the web provide easily a manipulated and stored data.  provides a tool for creating forms and stores it automatically. The campus webmaster may help you create surveys online for assessment. Scantron has special forms that allow you to get a count on the number of answers for each choice using a common Scantron machine, I have found this inexpensive and useful. Scantron and several publishers have laser activated assessment tools that automatically download responses in a computer file.

The secret to closing the loop for faculty depends heavily upon realistic and manageable data recording.


Schedule time to record data directly after completing the assessment. Depending upon the assessment, this process usually requires only a few minutes to half an hour after class.


Prepare a simple table or chart to record results.


Think about the meaning of these data and write down your conclusions.


Share the data with the class, if appropriate.


Modify your conclusions following this feedback.


Take the opportunity to share your findings with other faculty in your area, as well in those in other areas for broader perspective.


Report on the data and what you have learned at discipline and institutional meetings.


Send me an email and let me know what works and what does not (

For program assessment, data should be aggregated and sent to all faculty within the program. Allow some time for individual faculty members to think about the data. Plan a program meeting each semester to summarize the data and determine changes in the assessment process or improvements in program curriculum and policies. Interpreting the data occurs best when everyone has a chance for input, many minds are far smarter than the smartest individual mind. It is helpful to have a computer and project the information for everyone to see, and then to create an executive report together on the screen. This saves time and the report is created collegially; the meeting ends with a product. This data and summary should be shared with advisory boards, institutional researchers, and other relevant parties for input. Remember, everyone is a learner when it comes to assessment.

Proceed to Using Data

Resources and Links


Section 7 Closing the Loop
 as a Workbook

(14 pages)


You can create forms easily at this link.

Scantron Forms for Surveys

Scantron Automated Assessment


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