Steps in the Assessment Cycle

Effective assessment should be viewed as an iterative process but does not need to be overly complex or time consuming. The steps in the assessment cycle can be used to organize your assessment activities.

Assessment is a process that, similar to teaching, should begin with outcomes and goals. Assessment is more than developing a survey, collecting and analyzing data. Although these are steps in the assessment process, assessment is most useful when it is connected with the broader institution mission and goals, has identified outcomes, and has plans in place to utilize the data to document student learning and/or make improvements.

  1. Any assessment should connect to the broader mission, purpose, goals, and objectives.
    1. What is the purpose of doing this assessment?
    2. How does this purpose fit in the larger context?
  2. Begin by identifying your outcomes or learning objectives.
    1. Are these outcomes/objective measurable?
    2. How will I know if they are achieved?
  3. Develop method:
    1. How will you assess the outcomes?
    2. Do you have access to data or can gather data to measure the outcomes?
    3. What methods/measures will you use?
  4. Gather Evidence – collect data
  5. Interpret Evidence
    1. Analyze results and interpret results based on the learning outcomes and assessment purpose. Analysis can be qualitative, quantitative, or using mixed methods.
  6. Implement Change
    1. Good assessment requires putting results into action. Use the results of your assessment to make changes to improve what was studied.
  7. Using information from prior assessments, make changes to your assessment plan, and begin again.
Systematic Cycle of Assessment