Looking through a microsope

Analyze & Interrogate Results

We have collected student work. Now what?

Make sense of the evidence of student learning

"Collecting data is one thing, but making sense of them is something else. We want to use analytic techniques that are simple, direct, and effective" (Allen, 2004, p. 131).

What can we learn from these results?


The results of assessment activities are most meaningful when they provide insight into student learning in comparison to something else, i.e., analysis of aggregated students’ performance in relation to program learning outcomes.

  • How do these results align with the target performance expectations? Are there differences between expected and actual results?
  • How do the results from direct and indirect evidence confirm, contradict, and/or challenge each other?
  • What story / stories about student performance related to program learning outcomes do the results support? 
  • What areas of strength do the results reveal?
  • What is working and should be continued? Scaled up?
  • What needs to change to improve student learning outcomes? 
  • What does the evidence indicate about alignment between courses?
  • Do these data provide acceptable evidence of students’ ability to:
    • remember / describe / apply / analyze / evaluate / create?
    • think critically?
    • communicate effectively?