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Home > About NOVA > Directories & Offices > Administrative Offices > Academic Assessment > Assessment Loop Resources >

Indirect Assessment Techniques

Indirect Assessments gather information quickly through means other than looking at actual samples of student work, but may not provide real evidence of student learning (for example, surveys, exit interviews, and focus groups).

  • Focus Groups provide “an opportunity for participants and the facilitator to exchange information related to the topic or group of topics for which the data are being collected… The insights and data produced by the interaction of participants in focus groups can provide feedback to initiate change, confirm satisfaction with services, or help generate new hypotheses” (Focus Group Guidelines, Austin Community College, 2002)
  • Interviews “allow deep exploration of an individual's experience…typically only a small number of people can be interviewed due to resource limitations…Interviews are excellent for deepening understanding of issues identified using surveys.” (Assessment for Curricular Improvement, Michigan Engineering)
    • Guidelines for Conducting Research Interviews – Includes preparing, types of interviews, types of topics in questions, sequence and wording of questions, carrying out the interview and afterwards (Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD, Authenticity Consulting, LLC.)
    • How to Conduct an Interview - Describes four stages of an interview:  arrangements, preparation, the actual interview and the reconstruction.
  • Surveys/Questionnaires gather students' perceptions of learning, opinions about learning, or reflections on learning. They are efficient for gathering information from a large number of students. (Assessment for Curricular Improvement, Michigan Engineering)
    • Conducting Web-Based Surveys – Solomon, David J. (2001), Practical Assessment, Research & Evaluation, 7(19).
    • Surveys - Listed here are a summary of the national surveys that gauge student outcomes and experiences with links to further survey information and related articles (NILOA).
    • Surveys or Questionnaires - Guidelines for writing surveys and choosing who to survey (University of Michigan).