San Diego Mesa College

Closing the Loop


Using the Evaluation Results

Evaluation and a determination of how well the course/program/service area/unit outcomes were achieved can only occur when you are able to compare the actual data to determine how well the course/program/service area/unit achieved its goals. If the results were below expectations on an outcome, you should be able to “drill down” into the measurement process and tools to determine where improvements could be introduced.

Evaluation could lead to changes in many aspects of a course/ program/service area/unit. Consequently, it is important that the tools and methods used provide the capability to identify accurately the practices that need improvement. Don’t forget to ask the students or those benefiting from the service you provide; they experienced the assessment plan and can give the “inside out” point of view that those assessing may not be able to see.

Upon implementation of changes, the entire assessment cycle starts again. A carefully developed assessment plan can likely be used to measure the impact of the changes. However, for a number of different reasons, it may be necessary to make modifications in the plan. The end of the cycle is a perfect time to design changes for implementation in the next cycle. A well-designed assessment plan and careful evaluation of the results enables faculty/staff/administrators to make targeted improvements or affirm current practices efficiently and effectively.

Closing the Loop

Closing the Loop is part of the continuous cycle of collecting assessment results, evaluating them, using the evaluations to identify actions that will improve student learning, implementing those actions, and then cycling back to collecting assessment results. This is where reflection and robust discussion translate into program and course enrichment, and the potential for outcomes assessment is realized. 

Examples of changes made in response to assessment data

  • Curriculum changes such as a new course, pre-requisites for a course, or course sequencing.
  • Creation of a universal rubric to address inconsistencies in grading students’ writing
  • Adoption of a new textbook to better address course level outcomes
  • Revision of an oral assessment instrument to lower students’ stress level
  • Increased peer to peer interaction to promote communicative competency
  • Implementation of end of semester faculty/student interviews with students in a degree or certificate program to gauge their progress and set goals
  • The development of a 360 evaluation process for student work (self, peer, faculty)

Communicate Conclusions

Communicating your results to the campus community demonstrates that the course/program/service area/unit has been developed with the best interest of the students or those it serves in mind. The accrediting bodies, future employers of your students, high school seniors and other prospective students, as well as the community at large may also find your results informative. The mid cycle check in (3 years) and the final reporting out at the end of the six-year timeline needs to tell what happened, why it happened that way, what the faculty learned from it, and what it intends to do differently to improve student learning.

Consider the following when communicating results

  • Celebrate and publicize your successes. We tend to forget to let people know what we do well; post it to social media, put it on your website, a banner behind a plane over OB! Promote the program vigorously, but use accurate data and evidence to do
  • Identify the shortcomings and don’t try to hide or minimize them, but present the actions you will take to improve these weaknesses and explain what you expect of these
  • Consider whether the results should be presented differently to different audiences such as prospective students, the Dean and other administrators, the rest of the Mesa community, and beyond
  • Avoid “data dumps,” especially to the lay people. Ask for assistance from the Research Office to format your outcomes data in an effective manner, especially if you are, for instance, placing the final report on your program’s

Last Updated: May 25, 2017
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