Teaching and Learning

Assessment Model
Focus Group
Assessment Catalog

Directorate for Education
U.S. Air Force Academy
Suite 4K25
2354 Fairchild Dr.
USAF Academy, CO


DSN: 333-2740
(719) 333-2740
Assessment Model

The diagram below shows how assessment efforts fit into the educational process.


This simple model can be a good tool to promote understanding of the process by which we measure our success in providing cadets with the best educational experience we can. Our assessment division can help ensure that your process is working the way you intend it to.

At the core of instruction, educators provide goals and objectives (usually at both course and program levels) which serve as an outline for instructors and provide a learning framework for students. These elements are directly related to desired educational outcomes which reflect the overall behaviors we expect students to demonstrate as a result of the presented course or program. Being able to solve ill-defined problems, communicate well, apply fundamental knowledge, etc. are all examples of behavioral outcomes.

We then provide action to these planning components by designing a structured course, a set of courses, or an entire program of instruction which will meet the outcomes we have identified. Daily classroom teaching and learning activities, both within the classroom and outside it, form the core of this stage of the process. The result of these efforts must be both evaluated and refined in the following steps.

Ultimately, behaviors must be made "observable and measurable" so that we can make a judgment about student learning. In this step of the process, we collect data and observe student behavior. This information is used as indicators of the level to which we are reaching the desired outcomes. A variety of assessment methods are often used to accomplish this; traditional instruments such as tests, quizzes, projects, presentations are typically used to collect these data from cadets. However, many others methods are available which not only help students reflect on what they have learned, but can help instructors assess their teaching effectiveness as well. In this way, instructors obtain feedback from students about their attitudes towards their learning. Surveys, focus groups, small group interviews, and simple classroom activities are other instruments which can complement data collected by more traditional instruments and provide the instructor or course director with a much better picture of the overall degree to which learning outcomes are being met. This is an area where the assessment division can be especially helpful to you.

Collecting data concerning student achievement and the effectiveness of the course or program isn’t useful unless it is used to analyze the effectiveness through interpretation of all the data collected. This information is used to make decisions about "what works and what doesn’t", how instructional activities could be improved, how learning can made more meaningful and so on. Ultimately, if these data are collected and interpreted over a period of several semesters or years, a longitudinal analysis emerges, which is especially useful for accreditation purposes and long range planning.

In all cases, it’s important to remember that the model is iterative. That is, the process of collecting and interpreting data will only be beneficial to the extent that it leads to improvements in what we do. Our collective goal is to improve the quality of education we all can provide for cadets. We in the Assessment Division hope that we can help you meet this goal.

Point of Contact:

Director of Assessment
If you have any questions or comments concerning the contents of this web-site, please call 719-333-7990.




U.S. Air Force Academy, USAFA, CO 80840, (719) 333-1110 DSN: 333-1110, 10 Dec 16
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