• Methods & Measures

    Providing a comprehensive understanding of the dimensions of student learning involves the selection or design of direct and indirect methods.
    -Peggy L. Maki, 2004


    Student performances evaluated according to program- or university-level expectations can serve as direct indications of student progress toward or achievement of learning outcomes. Direct methods of learning assessment include papers, presentations, artistic productions, exams, capstone projects, and portfolios. Grades alone do not constitute direct evidence of student achievement of learning outcomes; however, if the learning outcomes and evaluation criteria for a student performance are explicitly stated and applied, grades can serve as one indication (ideally, among multiple measures) of student learning.

    Indirect indications of student learning are less immediate and cannot substitute for the evidence direct methods provide. Indirect assessment methods can capture students’ and alumni’s perceptions of their learning and the learning environment, and employers’ and graduate programs’ perceptions of graduates’ learning and preparedness. Indirect measures of student learning include exit interviews with graduating students, student and alumni surveys, and records of job placement and graduate school admissions.