3 ResLife Pro Quick Tips for Assessing a Program

Roompact’s “Quick Tips” series highlights ideas and suggestions you can put into your practice as either a professional staff or student staff member working in residence life and education. Click to read more from the series.

Programs are often an essential part of a residence life program’s educational and engagement efforts. But how do we know they are effective? Being able to construct well-designed assessments will ensure that your programmatic efforts are well intentioned and hitting the outcomes you want them to achieve. The following are three tips for designing program and event assessments:

1. Go beyond student satisfaction and attendance counts.

Attendance counts can help you understand how many students may have been impacted. Satisfaction can measure how enjoyable a program was or a student self-report of learning. To get to the heart of what you may want to know, however, see if you can measure the actual learning itself. Can students demonstrate the skills you want them to? Can they recall important facts? Think about how you can design an assessment that attempts to measure the content of the program, not just its delivery or residents’ perceptions.

2. It doesn’t need to feel like an assessment.

It’s not uncommon to think of assessment only in terms of conducting a post-event survey. Although this may be one tool in your toolkit, there are ways you can incorporate assessment questions into a program so that it doesn’t feel like a survey. This could be in the form of a quiz, where answers are collected and prizes are given. It could also include reflection questions facilitated during the program itself. Creatively integrating an assessment into the event itself can lead to better data and make assessment a more integral part of the program experience.

3. Assessment should be baked into the program design.

Rather than designing your assessment after you’ve designed a program, try to design it from the start. Think about the outcomes you want your program to achieve and figure out if you can construct an assessment to indicate if you were successful in achieving your outcomes. If you can’t measure your outcomes, you may need to change them. Once you’ve settled on these outcomes and assessments, then design your program to meet them.


Roompact’s software makes assessment easier! Bringing all of your data in one place and providing tools to help you make sense of it. Roompact’s Insights takes it a step further allowing you to do a deeper dive into your data.

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