Indirect measures of student learning should evaluate what students think they know at the time the assessment has been conducted. In the course of assessment, indirect measures should complement the direct measures used to evaluate student learning outcomes.
Examples of indirect measures of student learning:
One of the most common tools for measuring student learning outcomes indirectly are surveys. A survey or a tool for gathering information about beliefs, values, or attitudes towards a particular topic can be used as an indirect measurement of student learning.
You will want to use a survey as part of your assessment process in order to:
Surveys should not be used without a clear, stated purpose for both the facilitators and the participants or with a small number of participants.
For any survey, it is essential that the response rate or the number of people who participate in the survey vis-à-vis the number of people within the population to be statistically significant. The response rate will depend on the population, the margin of error you are willing to accept, and how confident you are in this margin of error.
There are some ways to help improve your response rate:
First, the survey facilitators should determine if they are going to use:
Open-ended questions or questions that allow participants to provide their own response
provide valuable qualitative data that allow the facilitators to analyze the reasoning and logic behind a participant’s answer
reveal responses that were not immediately considered by the facilitators
Closed questions or questions where the facilitators provide responses
Next, the survey facilitators will need to determine if the survey will be anonymous or named.
Finally, when designing a survey, it’s important to carefully construct survey items. Survey items should be clearly worded with no ambiguous language. Use direct wording that your participants will easily understand.
Some suggestions to keep in mind:
When analyzing the results of an open-end question survey:
When analyzing the results of a closed question survey: