Using Assessment Data

The purpose of outcomes assessment is to improve student learning.  Outcomes assessment achieves improvement by systematically informing  program-level decisions related to student learning with the best available evidence.  Even if assessment measures are appropriate and on-schedule, outcomes assessment is not happening unless the assessment data is used to improve student learning.

Using assessment data is best planned as part of a program's unique system for informing learning-related decisions with evidence.  In other words, "how to use assessment data" should be an integral part of a program's assessment plan.  This handbook includes ideas for using assessment evidence for improvement in the context of creating assessment plans.

Outcomes assessment is a systematic process for improvement, not simply a system for measurement.  It is like a closed-loop feedback system in engineering.  In engineering systems, measurements are made to inform action.  Similarly, in outcomes assessment, assessment measures are made to inform action intended to improve student learning.