Program Assessment: Indirect Measurement Approaches

Much can be learned from compiling information from current and former students and employers. Though this information cannot stand alone as a measure of effectiveness, it provides an additional option in reviewing performance.

National Surveys

Graduating Student Surveys

Alumni Surveys

Locally-Developed Surveys

Employer Surveys

Institutional Data

Case Studies

Focus Groups


Retention Rates

Completion Rates

Student Activity/Study Logs

National Surveys

Surveys that are available nationally can be used to identify where improvements are needed. Examples: National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), Student Satisfaction Inventory (SSI), Cooperative Institutional Research Program (CIRP), College Student Expectations Questionnaire (CSXQ).

UCF's Graduating Student Surveys

The graduating survey (seniors and graduate students) is administered by the office of Operational Excellence & Assessment Support and includes program-specific questions. Program-level data from the surveys are provided to each academic program via a website to allow identification of service and academic issues of concern.

Alumni survey

The alumni survey that was conducted for the first time in Summer 2004 by the office of Operational Excellence and Assessment Support provides alumni perceptions of UCF and of their academic programs. Also, locally-developed (i.e., by the academic department) alumni questionnaires can be useful in assessing levels of satisfaction with students’ preparedness upon entering graduate school or the workforce.

Locally (program or unit) Developed Surveys

Point-of-service surveys, advisory board surveys and other questionnaires can be developed by an academic program or administrative unit that ask students or customers about satisfaction with services or programs.

Employer Survey

The Employer Survey is under development by the Office of Operational Excellence and Assessment Support (not currently available). Employer surveys may be locally developed (i.e., by the academic department) alumni questionnaires can be developed to assess industry’s level of satisfaction with student preparedness.

Institutional Data

Institutional level data such as graduation rates, demographics, time-to-graduation and enrollment in graduate level programs by former graduates can provide useful information regarding the strengths and weaknesses of a program.

Case Studies

Cases studies are focused, systematic examination of one instance of a phenomenon such as an event, program, process or person. Typically, they involve collection of qualitative and quantitative data such as observations, surveys, and interviews for an in depth study of the phenomenon. A report on the case stuffy can help integrate the evidence into one response.

Focus Group

Individuals that are users of the program or that benefit from the academic preparation made possible as a result of completing the program (e.g., employers, alumni, faculty, parents, etc.) can provide important qualitative data that can be used to identify strengths and weaknesses within the program.


One-on-one structured interviews with students, faculty, employers and alumni conducted by a trained interviewer can be provide useful information, which can be used to identify strengths and weaknesses within the program.

Retention Rates

Retention data for a given program can provide useful information relative to the strength of a program. Comparison of retention rates prior to and after the implementation of a change aimed at retention can be a useful measurement of impact on students.

Completion Rate

Data that indicates the completion rates for students over a period time for specific programs can be provide useful information regarding the strengths and weaknesses of the program.

Student Activity and Study Log

A log that reflects the amount of time a student spends studying or involved in specific activities can provide important data that can be used to identify opportunities for improvement.

In addition to the information included here, we invite you to participate in events focused on Assessment listed in our calendar and to contact the Faculty Center for additional assistance.


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