Assessment under Resource Constraints
Abstract: Assessment and the measurement of learning are receiving increasing emphasis in American higher education. This is a case study that demonstrates a simple, inexpensive method of measuring freshman to senior “gains” or learning using a cross-sectional methodology. Seniors and freshmen within a four-year business program were both given the same multi-part test. Not surprisingly, the seniors’ average score on all parts was higher than that of the freshmen. However, the seniors were older than the freshmen, indicating a possible maturity effect, and had higher average scores on their entrance examinations, indicating a possible selection effect. We used regression techniques to estimate these effects, and subtracted the estimate from the seniors’ gain to estimate a net gain. Our method is applicable to any learning outcome that can be quantified, and we believe that it is both effective and within the means of nearly all U.S. institutions of higher education.