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HomeMeasure Outcomes

MEASURE OUTCOMES

Measuring outcomes is only one step in the assessment process.  It is common for the term “assessment” to be used synonymously with “measurement,” but using the terms interchangeably is misleading.  Outcomes assessment (Link to Assessment Process model) is a process that includes measurement. 

How to measure outcomes:
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This is a picture hyperlink to the "Appropriate Assessment" Adobe Reader file.
  • Administer the assessment tool(s)
When measuring outcomes, please follow this one bit of advice: Strive to collect data that will be useful.
 
This is a picture of a women sitting at her desk with paperwork around her. “You don’t need to collect data you don’t use; it’s much more important to collect a small amount of useful data than to proliferate data that sit in a drawer or on a computer file.  If you are collecting information you are not using, either start using it or stop collecting it.  Instead of focusing on compliance, focus on the information you need for wise action.” Walvoord, 2010


Assessment is action research.  Our goal is not to conduct scientific, experimental research that is generalizable to all students in the US or worldwide.  We do not have the time, resources or support to conduct such research.  Plus, no one expects it. 

“Assessment is action research, not experimental research.  While it is systematic, it is context specific rather than generalizeable, informal rather than rigorous, and designed to inform individual rather than general practice” (Suskie, 2009).

What is expected is that we systematically gather enough reliable information (given the amount of time, resources and support available) about Southwestern College students to make reasonable conclusions about how and what they are learning, what supports their learning, and what additional support they may need.

The goal of learning outcome assessment is to gather reliable information about teaching and support services in order to guide data-based decision-making.  The information collected needs to be specific to classrooms, programs and student services at Southwestern College so we can support our local student population.

“You are not trying to achieve the perfect research design; you are trying to gather enough data to provide a reasonable basis for action” (Walvoord, 2010).
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