Examples of Direct vs. Indirect Assessment Measures for Operational Outcomes (Administrative)

Direct measures of operational outcomes include products or evidence that demonstrate program efficiencies. Indirect measures, on the other hand, may imply that program efficiencies are in place (e.g., customer perception of efficiencies) but do not specifically demonstrate the efficiency.

Indirect (proxies) Direct (tangible, compelling)
Surveys of students, alums, or employers Decrease in wait time
Focus Groups/Interviews of stake holders, e.g. students, faculty, staff, community leaders Increase in counts (e.g. number of customers served)
Stakeholder Perceptions, participation and attrition Growth in service capacity
Staff professional development perceptions Reduction in cost of performance
Attendance Rates An external review of the unit
Usage Awards / Honors

Online References:

The University of North Carolina Greensboro (2021). Administrative Assessment Handbook. Retrieved May 20, 2023, from the University of  North Carolina Website

LaGuardia Community College (2021). Assessment Guide: Measuring student support services and administrative objectives. Retrieved on May, 2023 from the LaGuardia Community College Web Site

Jackson State University (2021). Assessment Manual. Retrieved May 20, 2023, from Jackson State University Website

Simmons College of Kentucky (2021). Glossary of Assessment Terminology. Retrieved June 15, 2023 from the Simmons College Website


Wells, J. (2015). CAS Professional Standards for Higher Education: Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education.

Suskie, L. (2018). Assessing student learning: A common sense guide (3rd ed.).  Josey-Bass.

Maki, P. (2004).  Assessing for Learning: Building a Sustainable Commitment Across the Institution. American Association for Higher Education.

Walvoord, B.E. (2004). Assessment: Clear and Simple. Jossey-Bass.

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