Assessment Cycle

Assessment Cycle Infographic

Whether you are assessing student learning or operational outcomes, assessment is an iterative process that provides important feedback about what and how well your constituents are achieving the objectives of your programs, resources, and services. If followed and conducted intentionally, assessment can be a very powerful process that can optimize learning and enhance the quality of your services.


Set Program Outcomes (Define Mission and Goals)

Assessment begins with identifying goals and learning outcomes. What am I trying to learn? What do you want to know? Why is this topic important? How will the outcomes of the research make change within department? These are some of the questions you should be asking yourself when you begin the planning phase of the cycle. Remember, the best goals are SMART: specific, measurable, aggressive, realistic, and time-bound. When assessing outcomes it is crucial that the goals you are assessing are measurable.

Develop and Implement Assessment Strategy

** Remember that continued programming and assessment can happen at the same time!**

  • Articulate clear assessment questions
    • There are a variety of ways to ask to clear and effective questions during assessment. Please refer to form.
  • Select method and conduct assessment
  • Analyze and Interpret Result
    • This is the fun part! You now how the data you need to begin reviewing and understanding your results. It is important to plan logistically how you will be analyzing the data in an organized manner. Coding is one of the strategies used to set classification and identifications to like results.
  • Propose actions and changes
    • The actions and changes you propose should be in line with the results of the assessment along with the goals of the department. You should take into consideration changes you would take to improve the assessment you conducted within this stage as well.

Provide Program and Services

You should continue with your programming and services as usual. Assessment should not stop and can be used in line with programming efforts. For example, if you are assessing attendance at events, you will continue as usual to have events through academic year where you will assess the attendance.

After proposing actions to be taken, you can provide program or services to align the actions with the department goals.  

Determine effectiveness and/or assess student learning

Assessment should be ongoing after taking action. You should continue to measure the effectiveness of your changes.  

Use Results for Continuous Improvement

The keyword is continuous! Assessment and programming should being ongoing, continuous and in line with each other. During this stage you should look back at the first step of defining you goals and mission to make sure that any change you propose it is in line with the goals of the department. If you changes are meeting the goals of the department, assessment should still be use to make sure that the changes are also meeting the needs of the students.

References: University of California, Los Angeles Westminster College