About Direct and Indirect Assessment Tools

Direct and Indirect Assessment Tools

For courses with only a few sections or a single section, department faculty have the option of employing a direct or an indirect assessment. The indirect assessment is a survey which asks students to assess their ability for each of the learning outcomes for the course. The instructors receive the survey results to obtain students' impressions of what they learned well and what they did not. This information can be helpful in determining whether students are receiving adequate feedback on their learning.

Direct assessments ask students to demonstrate their knowledge of skill through an exam, essay, portfolio, project, etc. Departments employ direct assessment tools primarily in their large, multi-section courses. To do so, the department faculty work collaboratively to create assessment tools, collect and analyze results, and complete the "Analysis of Student Learning" form, which identifies, among other things, plans for improvement.

To address privacy issues, the college collects assessment data at the course, rather than the section, level. Departments either collect assessment results from individual sections, or they collect random samples from the sections; in either case, they aggregate the section scores into a course score so that no individual results can be linked to an individual instructor.

The assessment results, however, do not determine whether the course SLOs have been met. To do this, the faculty member reviews his or her own courses assessments results to determine which SLOs have been achieved. On the "Analysis of Student Learning" form, the faculty member identifies which of the SLOs have been achieved and which have not based on his or her analysis of the course assessments and identifies future plans for improvement.

Additional Information

Methods of Assessment: Direct and Indirect