Assessment Resources & Tools

The following assessment resources and tools are categorized into topics.

Developing Student Learning Outcomes

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs), describe what students should know, be able to do, and/or value by the end of a specific educational experience (course, program, etc.). SLOs commonly are focused on 3 dimensions of learning:

  • Knowledge: fundamental cognitive content, core concepts or questions, basic principles of inquiry, a broad history, and/or varied disciplinary techniques.
  • Skills: capacity for applying basic knowledge, analyzing and synthesizing information, assessing the value of information, communicating effectively, and collaborating.
  • Attitudes & values: affective states, personal/professional/social values, and ethical principles.

Characteristics of great Program SLOs

  • Aligned with appropriate institutional learning outcomes and course specific learning outcomes
  • Specific, clear, and concise
  • Demonstrable and measurable
  • Discrete (i.e. no “double-barrel” verb statements)
  • Realistic and manageable
  • Use active verbs [PDF] from Cornell Center for Teaching, Learning, and Assessment

Additional SLO Resources

Measuring Student Learning

Direct assessment methods:

  • Course exam, quiz, assignments
  • Capstone projects/Final papers
  • Student presentations
  • Student portfolios

Indirect assessment methods:

  • Student self-reflection essays
  • Graduate/Alumni surveys
  • Employer surveys

Embedded assessment methods:

  • In-class problem-solving activity
  • Lab report
  • Student portfolio consisting of student assignments in the course

“Add-on” or external assessment methods:

  • Published standardized tests
  • Rubric review of student artifacts
  • Clinical interview of students’ problem-solving

Additional Supporting Information on Measuring Student Learning Outcomes

Improving through Assessment

Here are some common types and examples of changes that assessment results lead to (adapted from Allen 2011 and CSU Fullerton Assessment and Educational Effectiveness):

Types of ChangeExamples
CurriculumChange prerequisites or GE requirements; Add required courses; Replace existing courses with new ones; Change course sequence; Add internships, labs and other hands-on learning opportunities
Faculty SupportProvide targeted professional development opportunities; Add specialized support to faculty (Library, Academic Technology, etc.); Increase support to promote discussion and community
PedagogyChange course assignments; Add more active-learning components to course design; Change textbooks; Increase opportunities for formative feedback and peer-assisted learning
Student SupportIncrease tutors; Add more online resources; Improve advising to make sure students take the right courses; Provide resources to encourage community building among students and between students and faculty
ResourcesChange the course management system structure; Improve or expand lab spaces; Provide resources to support student independent research
Assessment PlanRefine SLO statements; Change methods and/or measures; Change where (e.g. courses) the data are collected; Collect additional data; Improve data reporting and dissemination mechanisms

Additional Assessment Resource

National Institute of Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) section under Publications for Reports and Occasional Papers offers additional assessment resources.

Reporting Assessment at CSUDH

Student Learning Outcome Assessment Reports are submitted annually through an online assessment system, Campus Labs Planning, using your CSUDH single-sign on credentials. If you need access to Campus Labs please contact the Director of Assessment. The Campus Labs Department Chair/Coordinator User Guide can be found in the announcements section immediately after logging into the platform.

Campus Labs login is available at:

Additional Resources

Other Resources

Suggested Sequence for Assessment of High-Impact Practices

1. Establish Learning Outcomes

  • Learning outcomes are the knowledge, skills, or values you expect your students to achieve 
  • You can use your existing course-level learning outcomes, your program’s learning outcomes, or write new learning outcomes specific to your HIP

2. Choose Assessment Measures

  • Choose direct or indirect measures “Embedded” assessments that serve double-duty as assessments and graded work might be the most efficient

3. Data Collection

  • If possible, collect baseline data from a comparison or control course or section (perhaps a different section of the same course)
  • Gather information about the background of your students (e.g., prior knowledge and GPA) Collect data from the HIP course and analyze it

4. Two Models for Framing

  • The Assessment I-E-O model (Astin)
    • I = inputs (for example, students’ prior level of understanding)
    • E = environment (i.e., your HIP intervention)
    • O = outputs (for example, achievement of learning outcomes
  • The main question is: Did the HIP intervention facilitate the achievement of learning outcomes given the students’ backgrounds?
  • PAR stands for Predictive Analytics Reporting

  • Know your students’ locations in the Academic Cycle (e.g., know about grade levels, # of units completed, major courses completed)

  • Gather information about “predictors” of success, including learner characteristics (e.g., GPA), learner behaviors (e.g., attendance), instructor behaviors, the HIP intervention, and others

  • The main question is: How did the HIP intervention contribute to the progression of the student in the Academic Cycle, given the various predictors?

5. Submit Outcome Data To Program Heads In Fall

  • Program assessment reports are due to the University every fall.
  • It will be helpful to your program head to have access to your data and to your conclusions.
  • Link your HIP learning outcomes to program learning outcomes

Getting Help

If you have any questions or need additional assistance, please contact the Interim Director/Chair of Assessment, Dr. Rui Sun at .