Yale Center for Teaching and Learning

Educational Program Assessment Consult Overview: What to Expect

The Educational Program Assessment (EPA) Team provides expertise in the development and implementation of assessment for educational programs led or supported by the Poorvu Center and our partner units across campus. We use learning science and educational psychology to inform our approach. Our team oversees assessment on a range of recurring programs, involving the design, methodological approach, implementation, and the analysis and reporting of educational data. Our work is guided by principles to produce assessment that is aligned, actionable, inclusive, and sustainable.

General goals of a consult

  • Establish or sustain a working rapport with the project team or colleague
  • Support the project team or colleague in articulating their goals to ensure assessments that are alignment with early, near-term, and longer-term outcomes
  • Consider the timeline and phase of the project to help identify or construct assessment methods and measures
  • Define the scope of the assessment and the roles across the Educational Program Assessment and the project team/colleague
  • Identify next steps and potential evaluation plan

Example Questions to Consider During or Prior to Consult

Introduction and goal setting

  • Tell us more about your project! What are the goals or potential outcomes?
    • Who is the audience you are looking to serve? What might their expectations be?
    • What are the activities of the project, what are participants expected to do?
  • What are you hoping that assessment data will allow you to do, say, or change in regard to your project?
  • What would a successful assessment look like for you? What kinds of themes or conclusions would be helpful to know in six months or so, for example?

Deciding on method and data to collect

  • Is there any existing data that could inform this approach? What do you already know from your experience or from talking to those involved with your project?
  • What kinds of data are you thinking might help inform this work?
  • Is there a way that you are collecting data right now? How has that experience been?
  • Are there internal or external deadlines for your project based on the results of a designed assessment?

Data security & respect for participants

  • Who will have access to the data (immediately and longer-term)?
  • Who will be included in this part of the assessment? Is there a group of people who are not included at this phase and need to be? Is there a group of people who are included at this phase and may not need to be?
  • Will you need to be able to match up individuals over time?*
  • Will you need to link a person’s data to other information within the university?*
  • If any identifying information is collected (either by design or by a person’s self-disclosure), how can we assure participants’ confidentiality?
  • Are you planning to make a generalizable claim to publish or present at conferences, for example?**

When reviewing methods and measures

  • Does the current assessment plan include anything that is not connected to one of the goals/questions?
  • Are any of the goals/questions not being addressed through the current assessment?

Analysis and reporting

  • What are your thoughts on analyzing the data? Do you have the support you need to do that? Are any steps unclear?
  • Who are you hoping to share the results with? There may be multiple audiences. For example, a funding agency, department chair, university committee, graduate students, instructors, etc.
  • How are you planning to share the findings back to participants and/or other stakeholders

Schedule a Consult

Please reach out via our Educational Program Assessment team email (assessment.poorvu@yale.edu) or write to the Poorvu Center (askpoorvucenter@yale.edu) with broader questions about how we can help Yale’s educational work thrive.

*These questions can help determine the anonymity or confidentiality of the data being collected so this can be planned and communicated. Our team coordinates with other university offices to respect Yale community members’ privacy and to adhere to university and federal regulations for collecting and sharing data. Care for those providing their perspectives and feedback to our assessments is the highest priority.

**Some programs we partner with require approval from the Institutional Review Board (IRB). We can offer various levels of support and advice for this submission process. See Yale’s Human Research Protection Program for more details.


Support for instructors, department chairs, and directors of educational programs who are assessing learning and performance in their curriculum.