Exemplary assessment practice requires “closing the loop” on an assessment cycle by analyzing and using evidence to develop a plan for action and to initiate improvements that can make a positive difference for students. Some questions to consider as you interpret your data:

  • Who else should be involved in decisions about the data, or could contribute something to the discussion (e.g., faculty or staff from other campus units, students, external partners)?
  • What was your original question? Was it about competency? Change? Differences in populations?
  • What worked or didn’t work in your assessment methods to help you answer those questions? Were your measures reliable?
  • What do the data suggest about the extent of student learning?
  • How does the evidence change your assumptions about what is happening with student learning?
  • Does the assessment indicate areas for improvement?
  • How can your findings help you to achieve the outcomes you want for your students?
  • What resources are needed to make changes (e.g., time, training, human resources, financial resources, facilities)

After you reviewed your evidence and made decisions about next steps, consider how you can share what you’ve learned with relevant constituencies. Assessment data is invaluable to program review, curriculum development, resource allocation, and planning processes. Additional avenues for sharing some or all of your findings include annual reports, newsletters and websites, social media, and presentations. Regardless of what and where you share outcomes, you should clearly communicate what is being done with the results and how it will contribute to the improvement of your program.