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Institutional Assessment

The Office of Institutional Research and Assessment (OIRA) administers surveys and conducts studies to assess current students’ experiences as well as graduates’ outcomes, including job placement and graduate and professional education placement. OIRA also provides guidance and support to university departments in learning outcomes assessment.

In addition to surveys and focus groups that OIRA conducts, other offices and departments on campus conduct their own institutional assessments on an ongoing basis. The most recent inventory of indirect assessments at the university level is provided through the link below. This inventory only lists indirect assessments (i.e., assessments based on opinion rather than direct observation) that involve a sizeable target population, such as an entire college or an entire group or class of students (e.g., all freshmen). Assessments specific to certain offices or departments are not listed.

Inventory of Indirect Assessments at the University Level‌ (as of May 13, 2015)

A detailed calendar of current ongoing major surveys is also available to internal users via the OIRA UMassD portal site.

Institutional Surveys and Reports

The Office of Institutional Research and Assessment (OIRA) conducts surveys and analyses that support planning and assessment activities on campus. OIRA works jointly with other offices on campus, including the Career Development Center and Alumni Relations, to administer several of these surveys, such as the Future Plans Survey and various alumni surveys.

Learning Outcomes Assessment

Learning Outcomes Assessment is an evidence, assessment and improvement process. Ideally we start with an important question, for example “How do we show what students and graduates know, can do, or care about?” To endeavor to answer this question, we need a few forms of evidence, including direct and indirect, qualitative and quantitative evidence. Direct evidence emerges straight from relevant student work, and indirect evidence includes observation or opinions about the student work or experiences. More forms of evidence increases our confidence in the conclusion that learning has taken place. Steps to this process include:

  1. Clarify institutional, program, major and course learning objectives;
  2. Identify and implement the learning activity, and the student work, with which you will measure how well those objectives are achieved;
  3. Gather and examine student work from learning activities to demonstrate student achievement of those objectives, and to understand how well the learning activities have brought about learning;
  4. Also gather and examine other information such as student experience surveys, or observations of student work in the course, to create an understanding of student learning experiences and practices;
  5. Celebrate learning achievement, or target and take action toward improving student learning. Sometimes an instructor can use classroom-based assessment techniques to adjust a course while it is in process, or students can use the same evidence to adjust study practice.
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