Assessment of Student Learning

Assessing Student Learning: An Outcomes-based Approach

Dominican University takes an outcomes-based approach towards student learning assessment. Couched in Wiggins and McTighe's Backwards Design Model (Understanding by Design, 2005), an outcomes-based approach regards student learning outcomes as the basis for measuring learning and as evidence that student learning goals are being achieved.

Employing a backwards design model requires as the first step of the design process to consider the intended impact of the curriculum/lesson on the students in terms of their development, whether it be cognitive, affective, or psychomotor. Once the desired impact (student learning goal) has been determined, instructors need to decide what student behaviors, dispositions, or attitudes will be used as evidence/indicators that the goal is being achieved. From there, assessments can be selected or developed that will measure the desired outcomes. Finally, the instructor can select or develop activities that will help students do well on the assessments.