Office of Institutional Effectiveness
SOAPs (Student Outcomes Assessment Plan)
Usually founded in survey activities, indirect learning assessment techniques gather measures from students about their self-reported progress of learning, what experiences students attribute their learning to, how students feel about what they know, and what students value as a result of their educational experiences. In addition, third-party reports of what students know and can do may represent an indirect assessment technique if the reports gathered are generalized assessments of student performances. Use of alumni surveys and employer surveys are encouraged as valuable indirect assessment techniques.
Exit Survey or Interview
A formal or informal interview of students completing the program can help gain insight into both the achievement of learning outcomes and overall satisfaction with a program. These could be done on an individual basis or in small focus groups. The questions asked the students should reflect the objectives of the program, scope and sequence of the curriculum, and perceived value of their knowledge and skills attained during the program.
Many of the same questions asked in an exit survey can be asked of individuals who have graduated and are alumni. However, in an alumni survey, there should also be at least a few questions about the relationship between a student's knowledge and skills relative to their graduate studies or career performance. This measure of satisfaction with a program is useful in checking the match between program objectives and perceived usefulness after graduation.
Obtaining feedback from employers can help establish the quality of the program's graduates to satisfy the requirements of the work place. This is particularly useful for profession preparation programs. An employer is in the position of being able to provide an independent assessment of the knowledge and skills possessed by the graduates of a program. Questions for an employer should take advantage of this viewpoint by asking for comments on actual performance of the graduate. Responses can be used to evaluate the efficacy of the program and appropriateness of the learning outcomes.
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