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Identify Assessment Methods

Both direct and indirect measures of student learning should be identified for each goal/outcome.

Direct measures are those that assess a student’s performance on activities related to the goal/outcome. Indirect measures are those that ask students to reflect on their learning.

Direct measures

Direct measures of assessment are those in which students are required to demonstrate their learning. For example, questions on exams, writing assignments, and presentation are examples of direct measures of assessment. Direct measures provide direct evidence of student learning.

Direct measures can be obtained from the following:

  1. Imbedded exam questions in courses
  2. Writing assignments in courses
  3. Candidacy exam rubric
  4. Final oral exam rubric

Indirect measures

Indirect measures are those which ask students to reflect on their learning. Methods used to collect indirect measures include surveys with students, exit interviews with students, and alumni surveys with an accompanying rubric.

Indirect measures can be obtained from:

  1. Annual surveys of graduate students
  2. Exit interviews with graduate students
  3. Interviews with internship or capstone supervisors
  4. Alumni surveys
  5. Job placement
  6. Reflective writings

Note: GPAs and course grades are not appropriate direct or indirect measures. Grades reflect individual work whereas graduate program assessment is an evaluation of student learning in a program. Moreover, individual courses rarely include content that is exclusive to a single learning goal; thus, a course grade will not be specific to one learning goal. Specific course assignments or imbedded questions on exams, however, can be used as direct measures to assess student learning related to the learning goals.