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Academic Assessment Committee: Measures and Targets


A measure is a method used to gauge achievement of expected results. Measures include learning activities that can be used for assessing the expected level of student learning and providing data for analysis. For each student learning outcome, there should be multiple direct measures – minimum of two (2). However, indirect measures may be used to complement direct measures. The use of multiple measures provides a balanced representation of the program, support for similar conclusions, and adds validity to decisions made regarding action plans for improvement.



Achievement Targets & Benchmarks

A benchmark is a criterion for assessing results compared to an empirically developed standard (Allen, 2004).

An achievement target indicates the expected levels of a group of students' performance for each assessment measure.

Both benchmarks and achievement targets establish specifications by which performance of learning outcomes are evaluated. Targets can specify characteristics of desired performance, accuracy, speed, frequency, percentage or number to be achieved, degree of excellence, qualities/elements of performance or reference to standard. The achievement targets in combination with the learning outcomes provide the basis for program accountability. Targets should be meaningful, based on benchmarks, previous results, and/or existing standards. Research of appropriate professional associations or web searches for examples from other programs, colleagues, and/or peers’ programs may be necessary to determine achievement targets. Targets may also be defined by accreditation standards or certification/licensure examinations. Targets should not be set as the course or program requirement.

Questions for Evaluating Assessment Measures and Targets

  • Are the measures appropriate to the demand of the learning outcome?
  • Can the measure provide sufficient data and information to analyze the learning outcome?
  • Do the learning outcome have multiple least 2 direct measures?
  • Are direct and/or indirect measures used with an emphasis on direct measures?
  • Are the measures described with explicit and clear details (supporting documents i.e rubrics, assignments are available)?
  • Are the targets/benchmarks for assessing students' level of achievement/success in each outcome realistic (achievable)?
  • Are the targets/benchmarks of appropriate rigor and based on baseline data, and or discipline/professional standards?
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