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Barriers to Using Assessment Results for Improvement: Ambiguous and Inconsistent Communication

Sat, April 18, 2:45 to 4:15pm, Hyatt, Floor: East Tower - Purple Level, Riverside West


Although higher education institutions often engage in assessment, the use of assessment results to improve student learning is rare. As assessment practitioners, we realized that the meaning of use of results may be unclear in the literature. Thus, we reviewed fourteen popular assessment books and qualitatively coded whether they defined use of results as 1) a general reference to improvement, but not necessarily student learning improvement; 2) a vague reference to student learning improvement; 3) a reference to a curricular/pedagogical improvement; and/or 4) assessing learning, making a change, and then re-assessing. The latter definition is true loop closure. We found great variability in definitions, with only two books providing a clear description of what it means to evidence improved learning.