Direct and Indirect Measures

Student learning can be measured using a variety of methods. The methods are commonly grouped into two categories: direct and indirect measures.

Direct Measures

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Direct measures are those that measure student learning by evaluating examples of student work, such as oral presentations, writing assignments, theses or dissertations and exams. Examples include:

  • Rubrics (AAC&U and UW-Madison)
  • Capstone course evaluations
  • Course embedded assessments
  • Tests and examinations
  • Performance evaluations
  • Portfolio evaluations
  • Pre-test/Post-test evaluations
  • Thesis/Dissertation evaluations

Indirect Measures

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Indirect measures are those that measure student learning by assessing opinions or ideas about knowledge, skills, attitudes and perceptions. Examples include:

Also check these institution-level surveys for results that are already available.

Collaboration with Co-curricular Programs

Academic departments are also encouraged to collaborate with co-curricular programs to identify instances in which students demonstrate learning related to the articulated program-level learning outcomes. Assessment activities designed around these out-of-classroom experiences are included in a program's annual assessment report.