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Using Assessment Results

Perhaps the most important step of the assessment cycle is applying the results to improve the quality of a program. This step is often referred to as “closing the loop.” Even though it comes at the end of an assessment cycle, closing the loop often serves as a guidepost for where to begin the next cycle.

For example, if the results indicate that graduates of the program are weak in an outcome, faculty may reconsider how and when it is addressed in the curriculum, or may conduct a follow-up survey with students to learn more about their perceptions of how the outcome was taught and reinforced.

After analyzing the data and identifying actions to take in response, it is important to establish responsibility and a timeline for completing those actions, and then to follow up in future assessment cycles. Keep in mind that the purpose of assessment is to institute a process that fosters continuous improvement, so some action items may take more than one academic year to address and realize change. Rather than making major changes after each cycle, programs should use the assessment process to follow up consistently and take steady action using the best available evidence.


Source: Walvoord, B. (2010). Assessment Clear and Simple. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.