275346 Collecting Evidence for Continuous Improvement: Using Direct Assessment of Student Outcomes
ABET’s Criterion 4 (also known as “Continuous Improvement”) states that each program must demonstrate a procedure for assessing, evaluating, and implementing improvements to the program. This involves collecting and evaluating data on the extent to which the program educational objectives and student outcomes are being met. One of the most difficult parts of collecting data for continuous improvement is determining what kind of assessment is appropriate and how to make that assessment efficient and useful.
Using a variety of assessment types can give a better picture of student performance. Direct assessments (such as analysis of student work samples or observations of students) and indirect assessments (such as self-evaluations or surveys) are most common. Direct assessments are often harder to obtain.
This paper will focus on how we developed our direct assessment methods for evaluating achievement of student outcomes and how that data was used for continuous improvement at Northwestern University. Details will be shared on the type of direct assessments used to evaluate student performance, how the assessments were implemented in the program, and how the data helped determine where program changes were needed.