Reporting the Assessment Findings
Congratulations are in order if you have completed an assessment activity and collected data! Assessment Findings are meant to improve teaching and learning as well as inform planning and decision making. And, results can highlight successes such as these:
- better alignment of the curriculum with desired outcomes,
- creation of useful rubrics,
- development of explicit standards and corresponding samples of student work ("anchors"),
- evidence that students are meeting or exceeding learning expectations.
Be sure to distribute the report of the results as widely as possible in multiple formats (e.g., oral and written). After discussion with the faculty, act on the results in ways that will improve the assessment process, student learning, or both. Assessment results are important evidence on which to base requests for funding, to make curriculum changes, add faculty lines, and more. Even negative assessment results can have a positive effect when they are used to improve the learning process.
Tips for Gathering Evidence
Every department/program has their own way of collecting the findings for the assessment measures. We suggest identifying one person in the department or area to be the data collector and sorter (assessment coordinator). This person would then be responsible for reporting the findings to the faculty for discussion.
Here are some suggestions for data collection:
- Excel spreadsheet.
- Develop a template to hand out to your faculty who are doing the assessments. Ask them to fill out the template with the appropriate information and return it to the assessment coordinator at the end of the assessment period.
- Survey tool such as Qualtrics
- Shared Google document
- Communicate a summary to colleagues in the department of the student skills that were assessed, how evidence was collected and evaluated, what the results mean, and how they will be used as a part of program improvement.
- Report results at a level of understanding appropriate for the audience receiving the report. Use language that will be understood by the individuals receiving the report. Explain technical terms.
- Keep it short and concise--be careful not to overwhelm. You can always attach data.
- Be accurate and be careful to not mislead.
- Use visual displays, bullet lists, active voice.
- Remember to include the number of student responses because this information gives stakeholders and reviewers a rough idea of validity.
- Critical Issue: Reporting Assessment Results, North Central Regional Educational Laboratory.
- Tools and Techniques for Program Improvement, Western Washington University.
- Busy Chairperson's Guide to Assessment, Southeast Missouri State University,(last updated 1997).
- American University of Cairo Assessment Handbook.
- Assessment Handbook, University of Central Florida,(last updated June 2008).
If you have any questions about assessment of student learning, please contact the OIA Assessment Team.