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

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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

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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) Occasional Paper #23, "A Simple Model for Learning Improvement" [PDF]

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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: https://csudh.campuslabs.com/planning/

Additional Resources

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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 model (parframework.org)
  • 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

Contact the Interim Director of Assessment, Carolyn Caffrey Gardner, at cgardner@csudh.edu, for assistance in any part of the assessment cycle.

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