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:
“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).