Tools for Assessment


The Office of the Vice President for Student Life hosts various workshops to support staff development on assessment related topics. The following presentations, worksheets, and handouts are free to use. Please contact Teri Schnelle if you have any questions.

Taking Aim at Student Learning

Access the Taking Aim presentation and handout to learn how to define student learning outcomes (SLOs) and describe their format and desired characteristics. See how assessment can help you in your work and learn how to write an effective student learning outcome using the SWiBAT format.

Choosing an Assessment Method

Access the Choosing an Assessment Method presentation and handout to learn how to identify opportunities for embedded assessment in your workplace. This presentation will show you how to define direct and indirect measures of learning and improve your ability to choose an appropriate method for assessment.

Beyond Surveys and Focus Groups

Access the Beyond Surveys and Focus Groups presentation to learn about other methods for gathering assessment data including: unobtrusive measures, observations, visual methods (such as photo journaling), and content analysis.

Using Assessment Results to Improve Practice

Access the Using Assessment Results to Improve Practice presentation and handout to learn about the process of analyzing qualitative and quantitative data. By the end of this presentation you will be able to explain the importance of storytelling when reporting assessment results and be able to identify strategies for using results to improve practice.

Analyzing Assessment Data

Access the Analyzing Assessment Data presentation to learn about analyzing qualitative and quantitative data.

Using Data to Make Decisions

Using assessment data to make decisions is all about moving from data to dialogue to action. Access the Using Assessment Data to Make Decisions presentation to learn about a structure you can use to think about your data and determine what action to take.

Telling Your Assessment Story

Access the Telling Your Assessment Story presentation to learn about how to best communicate your assessment results within and outside your department. This presentation covers the key points to communicating assessment results: determining your audience, targeting your communication, choosing a communication format, and creating an assessment report that will actually get noticed.

Creating an Assessment Plan

Access the Creating an Assessment Plan presentation and handout to learn about how to create mission rich learning outcomes and a manageable program or department assessment cycle. Use our assessment plan template to assist in creating a personalized assessment plan.

Embrace the Messy: Using Design Thinking to Get Moving on Assessment

Access the Embrace the Messy: Using Design Thinking to Get Moving on Assessment presentation to learn how to apply design thinking to everyday assessment activities. 

Assessment as Mindful Practice 

Access the Assessment as Mindful Practice presentation to reflect on the connection between mindfulness and assessment. 

Developing Learning Outcomes for Living Learning Communities

Access the Developing Learning Outcomes for Living Learning Communities presentation to learn more about developing learning outcomes and determining assessment methods for Living Learning Communities.

University of Iowa Assessment Handbook

The Assessment Handbook is meant to be a condensed practical guide to support student affairs practitioners in thinking about and using assessment in their daily work.

Information Sheets

These Information Sheets are meant to provide practical information on specific assessment topics.

Using Reflection for Assessment

Determining a Cycle for Assessment Activities

Evidence-Based Decision Making

Presentations for Reference

The following presentations on specific assessment topics are for your reference.

Developing Learning Outcomes as Part of Assessment in Student Affairs by John Schuh

Assessment Methodology in Higher Education by John Schuh

Data Coaching Workshop by Theresa Welbourne

University of Iowa Websites

The links below highlight assessment efforts that are occurring across the University of Iowa.

Center for Advanced Studies in Measurement and Assessment (CASMA)

Center for Research on Undergraduate Education (CRUE)

Office of Assessment, Provost's Office

Assessment on International Students 

Assessment in Student Affairs at Other Institutions

The links featured below highlight assessment in Student Affairs at institutions across the country.

Professional Associations

The links below highlight various professional associations that promote and support assessment efforts in higher education.


A list of books, journals, articles, and other publications on various assessment topics.