San Diego Mesa College



Assessing Course Learning Outcomes 

Faculty teaching specific courses should meet to define the assessment plan, to discuss the assessment process and timeline, and to make plans to review the assessment once complete. Course Learning outcomes assessment should align to your Program Outcomes Assessment. But in the first year of the cycle, COA suggests that you revisit all Course Outcomes to make sure that they are still aligned to the principles of your Program.  Programs may do this more frequently, but COA suggests doing so at a minimum at the beginning of each cycle.

Some things to consider:

  • COA recommends that you use multiple measures to obtain richer data that enables you to put greater trust in your final
  • Consider using both qualitative and quantitative assessment

Quantitative methods assign numerical scores to student work while qualitative methods often focus on the quality of work without assigning a numerical value to them.

  • Utilize rubrics in your assessment

A well-developed rubric allows you to give a numerical scores for a qualitative assessments which make the reporting, analysis, and evaluation components much easier.

  • Departmentally developed measurement tools tend to have tremendous content

Work together to develop your own tool, for example a rubric that can be used in multiple classes to track performance improvement over time. You could use it for formative and/or summative assessment of student performance.

  • Some of your course learning outcomes may be better assessed through the use of indirect methods, as they can provide feedback that is useful in interpreting the results or effectiveness of the direct assessments you use in a
  • To increase efficiency you can randomly sample students rather than test everyone, but make sure that you obtain enough data to trust your outcomes and
  • If several tools are used in a course assessment, for example a student survey and a direct assessment, the faculty should ensure that each uses the same or a similar prompt so there is consistency in the questions that respondents are asked to address in relation to the course learning
  • Need a survey, having trouble interpreting results, use your Research Office --they are there for you!

Last Updated: May 25, 2017
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