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Collect and Analyze Evidence

At this point in the assessment process, learning outcomes have been written, the assessment methods have been identified, and the outcomes have been mapped to the curriculum. Prior to collecting and analyzing data, it is necessary to determine the criteria by which to evaluate if students have adequately met the program’s expectations for their learning.

In some cases, an outcome can be considered “met” if 70% of the students have fulfilled the predetermined criteria. In other cases, faculty may decide that 95% of the students should fulfill the criteria for an outcome to be considered “met.”

Regardless of the criteria and thresholds for meeting them, the following questions may be useful as you interpret the results:

  •  Were expectations for your students appropriate for the program? Do the data suggest that expectations should be raised or lowered in the future?
  •  Did students have sufficient opportunities to practice and receive feedback about this learning outcome? If not, is there room in the curriculum to reinforce the outcome as students progress through the program?
  •  Do the assessment methods actually address the desired outcome? Is there a need to revise the learning outcome or to reformulate the assessment to ensure that it addresses the learning outcome as it is written?
  •  Were there extenuating circumstances that may have influenced the achievement of a particular outcome, such as a change in the faculty or to institutional priorities?

There is no “right” answer to any of these questions. The purpose is to establish an ongoing, consistent process for programs to reflect upon what is going well and to identify areas that could use improvement.


Questions adapted from the University Center for the Advancement of Teaching, Ohio State University.