Using Results

Using assessment results effectively is the most challenging, yet most critical, component of the assessment process. Assessment, by itself, does not result in improved student learning. Assessment results, along with professional judgment, must be reflected upon and used to make decisions that result in improved student learning.

Guidelines to ensure that the use of assessment results is fair, ethical, and responsible:

  1. Make assessments planned and purposeful: There should be a clear understanding at the outset of why the program is engaging in assessment and the types of decisions that assessment will inform.
  2. Focus assessments on important learning goals.
  3. Assess teaching and learning processes, not just outcomes, in order to make sense of outcomes.
  4. Actively involve those with a stake in decisions stemming from the results in discussions about assessment and use of results.
  5. Communicate assessment information widely and transparently.
  6. Discourage others from making inappropriate interpretations of assessment results. For example, communicate the limitations of assessment techniques, sampling, and other factors that could affect the accuracy and replicability of the results.
  7. Don’t hold people accountable for things that they cannot control.
  8. Don’t penalize faculty and staff for disappointing assessment results.
  9. Don’t let assessment results alone dictate decisions. Decisions should be based on sound professional judgment.
  10. Promote the use of multiple sources of information when making decisions.
  11. Keep faculty, students, and staff informed on how assessment findings are being used to inform decisions.

What should be considered when assessment results indicate a ‘need for improvement’?

Assessment results may prompt consideration of changes to the following areas of the academic program:


Changes to Curriculum

Changes in teaching practices

Revision/enforcement of prerequisites

Revision of course sequence

Revision of course content

Addition of courses

Deletion of courses

Changes to Academic Processes

Modification of frequency or schedule of course offerings

Improvements to technology

Changes in personnel

Additional training or professional development

Revision of advising standards or processes

Revision of admission criteria

Changes to Assessment Plan

Revision of SLOs

Revision of measurement approaches

Collection of additional data

What should be considered when results indicate ‘acceptable’ levels of student performance?

First of all, CELEBRATE your program’s success and RECOGNIZE your faculty and staff!

Then, consider setting more challenging goals or targets. Remember, the purpose of assessment is to drive continuous improvement!

Documenting the Use of Assessment Results

Use the Use of Results for Improvement Report to summarize assessment results and to identify improvement strategies that the program plans to implement .

A blank Use of Results for Improvement Report is accessible via the Academic Program Assessment main page: Academic Program Assessment Home.

Use the Implementation of Improvements Status Report to describe the progress made in implementing the identified improvement strategies.

A blank Implementation of Improvements Status Report is accessible via the Academic Program Assessment main page: Academic Program Assessment Home.