Interpreting Evidence of Student Learning

Once your faculty has gathered the requisite student learning data, the next step is to collectively examine the data for what it can tell you about how well students are achieving the department/program’s learning goals. This stage provides a good opportunity for faculty to convene and discuss the data. During this process, the overriding question should be: What do these sources of evidence tell us about student progress toward the learning goals we have set for them?

The following questions may be helpful during this stage

  • What does the data suggest about what students know or have learned?
  • What does the data reveal about students’ abilities to apply the knowledge they have learned?
  • What do these data show about what students value?
  • Which students do you still not know much about? (what level, majors/non-majors, etc.)
  • What do the data tell you about the connection between courses?
  • What do the data reveal about your program learning goals?

Consider the following in answering the above:

  • Use more than one rater to increase reliability when coding qualitative data
  • Consider both quantitative and qualitative analysis techniques
  • Take care to ensure student confidentiality throughout this process by taking student names off papers and disassociating names from data
  • Return to your original questions and issues of investigation to guide your analysis