Generally, qualitative and quantitative measurement in light of established standards. In the context of quality assurance of higher education, the things being measured include educational institutions, academic programs, courses, and students. Among those, the measurement of learning outcomes is an important element.
The assessment of learning outcomes clarifies what the intended learning outcomes are and then ascertains the extent to which students have attained those goals. Methods of measurement include direct assessment such as periodic examination as well as indirect assessment such as surveys of the status of graduates and satisfaction surveys of students. Assessments are classifiable by their features, including diagnostic assessment (of background knowledge and skills before learning), formative assessment (of academic development and understanding in the course of learning), and summative assessment (of the status of goal achievement after learning). (See also Means of Appraisal in Higher Education Quality Assurance: The Functions of Accreditation, Audit, Assessment, and Evaluation.)