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

Budgeting, Planning, and Improving through Assessment

O’Banion (1997b) defined six key principles upon which a learning college is based these included: 1) institutional commitment to substantive change in the learners, 2) learner accountability as full partners, 3) institutional dedication to diverse learning options, 4) student participation in collaborative learning, 5) re-defining of faculty roles and staff roles according to learning needs and, 6) evidence of success documented by learning outcomes.

How are decisions made at your institution? What does your institution do well? How do you know that? Is your institution focused on helping students learn in a way that they will demonstrate that learning when they leave? Are the students engaged as partners in learning: do they understand how they learn? Does the campus budget support and prioritize learning? Does the campus organization and governance support and improve learning? Notice from O'Banion's principles, the validation of a learning institution is documented success in learning outcomes.

Many of the decision-making practices are deeply ingrained in our institutional culture; some of those practices are good and others may need to be reviewed. The purpose of assessment is accountability, to provide evidence for decision-making that will improve learning, and to prompt learning. It is a complex process as shown in Roger & Beno’s Institutional Effectiveness Diagram that gives rise to many issues which must be dealt with in order to close the loop.


Proceed to Issues

Resources and Links

Culture of Evidence.
Pacheco, 1999.

Data-driven School Improvement. Johnson, 1997.

Using Data from Program Improvement: How Do We Encourage Schools To Do It?  Levisque, Bradby, Rossi, and MPR Associates, 1996.


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