TLA is asked frequently questions like, “how should we collect assessment data?” or “what methodology would be best for our assessment project?” Despite the huge variety of programs and learning outcomes at DePaul University, we have the same answer for everyone: it depends. While this may not be a particularly satisfying answer to many who hope assessment of student learning is black and white with clear distinctions between what methodologies would be correct and which are wrong, it is the most honest answer we can give.
Much like research, picking a methodology for assessment starts with asking questions. The choice of an assessment methodology depends on a variety of factors:
- What learning outcome are you trying to assess?
- What do you want to know about students’ achievement of that learning outcome?
- How would you know that students had achieved that learning outcome; what could students produce to demonstrate to you they had achieved the learning outcome?
- How would you like to interpret the information you receive; what conclusions are you trying to draw based on the learning outcome you are assessing?
- What systems are already in place to collect information about students’ learning in your program?
- What student work, products, or performances that demonstrate this learning outcome already exist that could be assessed?
- Are there courses within your program you may be able to target to collect information about this learning outcome?
- What resources do you have to collect information about student learning?
Answers to these types of questions can help guide decisions about the most appropriate methodology to use to assess students’ achievement of the learning outcome you are assessing.
TLA is happy to facilitate discussions with program faculty and staff regarding best assessment methodology given the nature of the specific assessment project you are pursuing.