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Direct and Indirect Measures

In this Section
Examples of Direct and Indirect Measures of Student Learning (Course, Program, and Institutional Levels)

Direct Measures Indirect Measures
  • Course and homework assignments
  • Examinations and quizzes
  • Standardized tests
  • Term papers and reports
  • Observations offield work, internship performance, service learning, or clinical experiences
  • Research projects
  • Class discussion participation
  • Case study analysis
  • Rubric (a criterion-based rating scale) scores for writing, oral presentations, and performances
  • Artistic performances and products
  • Grades that are based on explicit criteria related to clear learning goals
  • Course evaluations
  • Test blueprints (outlines of the concepts and skills covered on tests)
  • Percent of class time spent in active learning
  • Number of student hours spent on service learning
  • Number of student hours spent on homework
  • Number of student hours spent at intellectual or cultural activities related to the course
  • Grades that are not based on explicit criteria related to clear learning goals
  • Capstone projects, senior theses, exhibits, or performances
  • Pass rates or scores on licensure, certification, or subject area tests
  • Student publications or conference presentations
  • Employer and internship supervisor ratings of students' performance
  •  Focus group interviews with students, faculty members, or employers
  • Registration or course enrollment information
  • Department or program review data
  • Job placement
  • Employer or alumni surveys
  • Student perception surveys
  • Proportion of upper-level courses compared to the same program at other institutions
  • Graduate school placement rates
  • Performance on tests of writing, critical thinking, or general knowledge
  • Rubric (criterion-based rating scale) scores for class assignments in General Education, interdisciplinary core courses, or other courses required of all students
  • Performance on achievement tests
  • Explicit self-reflections on what students have learned related to institutional programs such as service learning (e.g., asking students to name the three most important things they have learned in a program)
  • Locally-developed, commercial, or national surveys of student perceptions or self-report of activities (e.g., National Survey of Student Engagement)
  • Transcript studies that examine patterns and trends of course selection and grading
  • Annual reports including institutional benchmarks, such as graduation and retention rates, grade point averages of graduates, etc