Examples of Assessment by Institution

Duke University:  To assess the effectiveness of learning goals in individual courses, Duke University’s Trinity College of Arts and Sciences uses a two-form course evaluation tool, modified from an evaluation tool produced by the IDEA Center of Manhattan, Kansas.  At semester’s end, students are asked not only to comment on standard course evaluation questions (e.g., quality of instruction, degree of difficulty), but also to rank the extent to which the course contributed to several higher-order learning outcomes (e.g., “learning to conduct inquiry through methods in the field,” “developing writing skills,” etc.).  Course instructors are asked independently to rank the relative importance of this same set of higher-order learning outcomes from their perspective.  This two-form system thus provides a direct measure of how well the instructor’s learning goals match students’ self-assessment of their own progress on these measures.


The primary point of feedback on learning outcomes assessment is the individual instructor, who can through the two-form mechanism assess how well he or she is meeting higher-order learning expectations from the students’ point of view.  Additionally, this information may be used by departments to determine how well the departmental expectations for its majors are met (as articulated in departmental mission statements and learning objectives).  This departmental level of analysis and feedback is not yet fully implemented at Duke, but deans now routinely use these data to evaluate courses’ and programs’ strategic interests (e.g., particularly large majors, new cross-disciplinary programs, innovative courses). 

Duke University