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Beyond the survey– try one of these alternatives!

Surveys are the most common (and overly-utilized) assessment tool. As your department considers Assessment Plans for the upcoming cycle, spare students further survey fatigue by trying one of these alternative methods:

Survey Alternative 1: Rubrics use lists or charts to evaluate student behavior or performance. In addition to the two examples below, and TLI has also created a great Introduction to Rubrics page on their website.

  • Charts. Specific requirements behavior or performance are listed on each row, with different levels of quality provided on a scale by which students are rated (ex. Collaboration rubric to assess teamwork and collaboration).
  • Checklists can be used to record observations of an individual or group and involve a simple “yes/no” response as to whether each requirement/dimension was met. 


Survey Alternative 2: Document Analysis. A form of qualitative research, document analysis involves either coding for themes or scoring a document according to a rubric. The two examples below could be easily incorporated into your next event or program: 

  • Guided Reflection Questions. Have students answer simple questions before, during, and after a program or experience. Use these data (or a random sampling if you have a large population) as basis for measuring outcomes. Teaching & Learning Innovation provides a document with questions that can be adapted for Student Affairs use (click here to access).
  • 2-minute paper. Similar to Guided Reflection Questions, have students take two minutes to write a short response to your prompt. 


Survey Alternative 3: Internal Data. Sometimes the best data are the data you already have! Existing data can provide an indirect measure of outcome attainment and/or strengthen indirect measures to tell a more compelling story. Examples of internal data that could be used for assessment include the following:

  • Enrollment trends, transfer statistics
  • % of students who attend graduate school or % of students who study abroad
  • Job placement statistics
  • Retention statistics
  • Event swipes, participation numbers


Looking for more ideas? Check out the OASI Resources page or view several great resources available from partners in the Teaching & Learning Innovation.