Academic Administration

Assessment Measures

After developing program learning outcomes and identifying where program outcomes are being taught/delivered, the next step is to consider ways to measure them. Assessment plans should include a combination of direct and indirect methods; at least fifty-percent of measures should be direct.

For additional information, the University of Stanford offers a handy guide.

Direct Methods Indirect Methods

Direct Methods

According to Maki (2004), direct methods prompt students to represent or demonstrate their learning or produce work so that observers can assess how well students’ texts, responses and skills fit program-level expectations.

Direct measures explicitly demonstrate students’ knowledge and/or skill; attainment of the objective is obvious and does not need to be inferred.


Examples of Rubrics

Indirect Methods

According to Maki (2004), indirect methods capture students’ perceptions of their learning and the educational environment that supports that learning, such as access to and the quality of services, programs, or educational offerings that support their learning.


Programs are encouraged to utilize institutional sources for indirect student learning data, such as the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) and the U of MN Student Experiences/Senior Exit Survey (SES). See NSSE and SES SLO Mapping for details on how these surveys relate to UMD Student Learning Outcomes.

Maki, P.L. (2004). Assessing for learning: building a sustainable commitment across the institution.  Sterling, VA: AAHE; and Walvoord, B. E. (2004). Assessment Clear and Simple. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.