In assessment, evidence of student learning is essential to understanding the success of a course or program.  Generally, there are two types of evidence of student learning, direct and indirect measures.  Below are descriptions and examples of each type of evidence.

Direct Measures

In Assessment, direct measures require students to demonstrate their knowledge and skills. They provide tangible, visible, and self‐explanatory evidence of what students have and have not learned as a result of a course, program, or activity.

Based on examining genuine or real examples of students’ work. Work that closely reflects goals and objectives for learning. Authentic assessment reveals something about the standards that are at the heart of a subject; asking students to use judgment and innovation as they “do” and explore the subject.

Program, general education, or institutional assessments that are embedded into course work. In other words, they are course assessments that do double duty, providing information not only on what students have learned in the course but also on their progress in achieving program or organizational goals. Because embedded assessment instruments are typically designed by faculty and staff, they match up well with local learning goals. They therefore yield information that faculty and staff value and are likely used to improve teaching and learning.

Performance assessments in which student work is systematically collected and reviewed for evidence of student learning. In addition to examples of their work, most portfolios include reflective statements prepared by students. Portfolios are assessed for evidence of student achievement with respect to established student learning outcomes and standards.

Indirect Measures

Indirect measures encompass assessments that measure opinions or thoughts about student or alumni knowledge, skills, attitudes, learning experiences, perception of services received, or employers’ opinions. While these types of measures are important and necessary, they do not measure student performance directly. They supplement direct measures of learning by providing information about how and why learning is occurring.

A group selected for its relevance to an evaluation that is engaged by a trained facilitator in a series of discussions designed for sharing insights, ideas, and observations on a topic of concern to the evaluation.

Researchers ask one or more participants general, open-ended questions and record their answers.

Forms used in a survey design that study participants complete and return to the researcher. Participants mark answers to questions and may supply basic, personal, or demographic information about themselves.

A method of collecting information from people about their characteristics, behaviors, attitudes, or perceptions. Surveys most often take the form of questionnaires or structured interviews. General definition: an attempt to estimate the opinions, characteristics, or behaviors of a particular population by investigation of a representative sample.