Carnegie Mellon University

Eberly Center

Teaching Excellence & Educational Innovation

Components of the Program Assessment Process

Each program is asked to use this program outcomes chart/template (doc) to articulate outcomes and identify measures, findings, and resulting actions. We use the following definitions to guide our work:

Program outcomes identify the knowledge, skills, abilities, etc., that students should be able to demonstrate upon completion of the program. The outcomes need to be specific and measurable.

Direct measures require that students demonstrate their knowledge, skills, abilities, etc., for faculty to then assess whether/how well they are achieving/achieved a program outcome.  Direct measures can include exams, project artifacts, artistic work products, capstone experiences, case studies, exams, juried performances, oral presentations, papers, and portfolios.

Indirect measures gather perceptions of how well students are achieving/achieved a learning outcome.  They can include alumni, employer, or student surveys, exit or focus group interviews, enrollment and retention data, and job placement data.  Indirect measures complement the data collected from direct measures but cannot stand alone as a sole measure of student performance and program success.

Major findings result from analyzing the data collected and documenting areas of success and areas for improvement.

Actions provide evidence that findings have been or will be used to further develop and improve student achievement of program outcomes (i.e., actions that were or will be taken as a result of data collection and analysis). It is also important to state when findings provide evidence that students are successfully achieving a program outcome.