Multiple Measures & Examples

In this section:

An Array of Instruments

Sample Methods

Disciplinary Assessment

An Array of Instruments

Matt Serra, Director of the Office of Assessment at Duke University, argues for a multi-methods approach. He says, "I do what I call 'triangulations.'  I bring two or three measures to bear on a specific issue.  If they point in the same direction, fine.  But if they don't, I figure out why.  We use direct and indirect measures to get at everything.  We don't rely on either one or the other.  And we don't try everything every year."  (Assessing College Student Learning: Evaluating Alternative Models, Using Multiple Methods, 31)

Lee S. Shulman, former president of the Carenegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, has counseled that a wise assessment plan will "intentionally employ an array of instruments that will constitute a 'union of insufficiencies.'  It is dangerous to permit highly consequential decisions of policy and practice to rest on the results of a single instrument, however carefully it has been field-tested and ostensibly validated." ("Counting and Recounting: Assessment and the Quest for Accountability."  Change (January/February) 2007, 24.)

Sample Methods

In a similar vein, Peggy Maki says that "Relying on one method to assess the learning described in outcome statements restricts interpretations of student achievement within the universe of that method.  Using multiple methods to assess the learning expressed in an outcome is advantageous in several ways:

  • Reduces straitjacket interpretations of student achievement based on the limitations inherent in one method
  • Provides students with opportunities to demonstrate learning that they may not have been able to demonstrate with the context of another method, such as timed tests
  • Contributes to comprehensive interpretations of student achievement at both institution and program levels
  • Values the dimensionality of learning
  • Values the diverse ways in which humans learn and represent their learning

(Assessing for Learning, 156-157)

Maki lists the following methods as examples:

  • Indirect methods (such as the Global Perspectives Inventory or the Student Assessment of Their Learning Gains)
  • Standardized instruments (such as the Collegiate Learning Assessment)
  • Locally-designed instruments
  • Capstone projects
  • E-portfolios
  • Wikis, blogs, and podcasts
  • Think alouds

All of the methods in Maki's list could be used as embedded assessments.  More information on that approach here.

    Disciplinary Assessment

    The Disciplinary Assessment page from SUNY Albany lists assesment practices for

    • Africana Studies
    • Anthropology
    • Art
    • Biology
    • Business
    • Chemistry
    • Classics
    • Communication
    • Computer Science
    • Criminal Justice
    • Earth and Atmospheric Science
    • Economics
    • Education
    • English
    • Foreign Languages
    • Geography
    • Geological Sciences
    • History
    • Latin American & Caribbean Studies
    • Mathematics
    • Music
    • Philosophy
    • Physics
    • Political Science
    • Psychology
    • Religious Studies
    • Sociology
    • Social Welfare
    • Statistics
    • Theatre
    • Women's Studies