Assessment of student learning occurs when academic professionals (i.e., faculty or student life staff) examine student outcomes. This complex task begins with a question, which could be stated in the form of an outcome, and continues with a plan to collect evidence of learning that will be analyzed in order to answer the question (or to establish if the outcome was met). Evidence usually consist of samples of students’ work (i.e., direct evidence), which is supported by additional information that will help inform the process, such as student surveys, focus groups or internship evaluations (indirect evidence). The actual approach to assessment is similar to social science research, such that it is systematic and requires organization and planning. The assessment cycle is composed of five steps: Inquire, Plan, Measure, Analyze, Apply.

Assessment Cycle