Examples of indirect assessment

Example 1: Survey of current students or alumni

The list of questions below is an excerpt from an exit survey created for the Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology (BPK) undergraduate program by Victoria Claydon and her team as part of a project supported by a Teaching and Learning Development Grant (TLDG) from SFU’s Institute for the Study of Teaching and Learning in the Disciplines (ISTLD) in 2014 (see the overview and report). Since the questions address broad, general goals, some of them may be suitable for other departments as they are, and others could be adapted.

1. How much has your experience with the department of BPK contributed to your knowledge, skills, and personal development in the following areas?

Very much Quite a bit Some Very little Not at all
Writing clearly and effectively
Speaking clearly and effectively
Thinking critically and analytically
Analyzing numerical and statistical information
Acquiring job‐ or work‐related knowledge and skills
Working effectively with others
Developing or clarifying a personal code of values
Understanding people of other backgrounds (economic, racial/ethnic, political, religious, nationality, etc.)
Solving complex real‐world problems
Being an informed and active citizen
Time‐management skills

2. During your undergraduate degree, about how often have you done the following?

Very much Often Sometimes Never
Combined ideas from different courses when completing assignments
Connected your learning to societal problems or issues
Included diverse perspectives (political, religious, racial/ethnic, gender, etc.) in course discussions or assignments
Examined the strengths and weaknesses of your own views on a topic or issue
Tried to better understand someone else’s views by imagining how an issue looks from his or her perspective
Learned something that changed the way you understand an issue or concept
Connected ideas from your courses to your prior experiences and knowledge
Reached conclusions based on your own analysis of numerical information (numbers, graphs, statistics, etc.)
Used numerical information to examine a real‐world problem or medical, performance, or human performance issue
Evaluated what others have concluded from numerical information in published research articles
Identified key information from reading assignments
Reviewed your notes within 24 hours after class
Summarized what you learned in class or from course materials

Example 2: Exit survey

The University of Wisconsin River Falls provides an extensive list of academic assessment plans and reports for its programs. Examples of specifically designed student exit survey questions can be found, for example, on pages 21–24 of the English BS/BA Program Assessment plan.

Example 3: Enrolment, retention and student satisfaction/Engagement data

Institutional Research and Planning (IRP) at SFU presents its Undergraduate Student Survey (UGSS) and the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) annually. Several of the survey questions refer to student experience, “high-impact practices” or “perceived gains” and can contribute to the indirect assessment of your program level goals. You may wish to request specific UGSS or NSSE data for your department from IRP, or ask them to conduct a survey for you.