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Use of Assessment Data

The use of assessment data is step 4 in the assessment cycle: Use results to inform next steps. "Closing the loop" is the process by which program faculty have made changes after step 4 and are reassessing to determine if the changes had the desired effect on student learning. The purpose of assessment is learning improvement.

Assessment is often considered "done" after data collection has ended or reports are submitted. In order for assessment to serve its purpose, however, the data collected and reports needs to be reviewed, discussed, and disseminated as appropriate. More importantly, actions that will be taken as a result of the data should be identified and implemented. These changes should then be assessed to determine efficacy of the change, leading to continual cycles of assessment and improvement of educational practices, a process often called "closing the loop."

Changes to the curriculum or pedagogies may include consideration of:

  • Course content
  • Teaching techniques
  • Improvements in technology
  • Prerequisites        
  • Course sequence
  • New courses
  • Deletion of courses
  • Changes in frequency or scheduling of course offerings

Changes to the assessment plan may include revisions to:

  • Student learning outcomes
  • Artifacts of student learning
  • Evaluation process           
  • Evaluation tools (e.g., rubrics)
  • Data collection methods
  • Frequency of data collection

The assessment report template asks program faculty to identify the action plan for current assessment findings (section 6) as well as how previously implemented changes based on assessment have led to learning improvements (section 7).

Please contact Marissa Cope, Assessment Director, at marissa.cope@slu.edu with questions or for support regarding the use of assessment data and closing the loop.