I. Questions I Wanted To Answer

a.) How do I design and implement effective assessment projects, utilize assessment instruments, and create protocols that allow for thorough research of key issues and questions within student affairs?

 b.) What are the best methods for conveying key findings to stakeholders?

II. Introduction

Prior to graduate school my assessment experience was confined to my work as an undergraduate orientation leader and my time in AmeriCorps. As a orientation leader, I had distributed and facilitated surveys to students who had come through our program and also helped to input this information into our database. Despite my limited experience and lack of in-the-moment reflection on the process, I can now identify a number of things I learned. The most important thing I learned was how many elements go into whether a survey is successfully administered. Things like the time of day, location, and mode of information gathering had a huge impact on how we felt about giving the surveys and how students felt about taking them. During my time in AmeriCorps, I took two end-of-the-program surveys. These surveys asked a number of questions about our thoughts and feelings on national service as well as about the housing, projects, and personnel that AmeriCorps provided. Reflecting upon this experience I realize that my teammates and I did not  invest time and energy into answering surveys thoughtfully because we didn’t know  how the information we provided would be used. I now realize that providing people with an understanding of why the survey is being given is essential. Reflecting on the AmeriCorps assessment more, I think that it would have provided better information if it was given as both an entry and exit survey, in order to access whether the program exceeded our expectations or not. It would have also been nice if corps members could have had access to the results of the survey in order to gauge our own personal growth and reflect on our expectations of the program.

III. Hypothesis

a.) In order to create effective assessments it will be essential to decide on what questions or pieces of information need to be obtained, why is it important to answer/obtain them and how the information gathered will inform future practices. Identifying the significant issues or questions to be discussed must be a team effort. All interested and invested parties must have an impact on the design and implementation of the assessment project. Assessment instruments must be easy to use, both for those taking and those giving the assessment.

b.) In order to convey credible findings the presenter(s) needs to explain the assessment method they chose and (why they chose it), the population being surveyed, and their reasoning for doing the project. The findings should be displayed visually and explained verbally in order to accommodate both learning styles. The presenters should be able to explain how the information answers or does not answer the questions the assessment was trying to answer and how the information gathered will inform future practices. If the information or research had flaws that make the information gained unusable, then the presenters should be able to address how to improve upon the assessment for next time or new projects that may be more useful in the future.

IV. Methods and Materials

 a.) and b.)
AHE 599 Assessment in Higher Education
How to Conduct Surveys: A Step-by-Step Guide
Student Conduct Assessment Projects
Analysis of U-Engage surveys

V. Data and Analysis

Raw Data Searching for Cause and Effect •  Contracted Assessment Services  Survey Says… 

Distressed and Disruptive Student Presentation Assessment • Academic Integrity Seminar Assessement

VI. Conclusions

Given the proliferation of assessment in student affairs, I find it necessary to take a step back and ask myself “Am I asking the “right” questions and am I assessing the “right” things?” While I remain utterly convinced that what is right in this instance is always subjective, I also think that assessments must be created with great intention and thoughtfulness.

I need to seek out and take advantage of the personnel and tools dedicated to assessment at the institutions where I work and make sure to get input from interested and respected parties before creating and executing assessment projects. By the same token, I need to be confident in the knowledge that I have and will continue to gain in regards to assessment. I can’t rely on others to be the absolute experts or to understand the things that make assessment unique in my department.

Precautions must be take to ensure that data collected is correct and unaltered, analyzed properly while maintaining proper confidentiality and distributed to the appropriate stakeholders.

When conveying messages to stakeholders it is important to send the information out through the proper venue. How the information in compiled, what messages it is sending, what results or conclusions can be drawn, and what kinds of conversations need to be had about the information should all guide decisions about venue of delivery. Conveying information is many different formats, percentages, charts, quotes, pictures, etc. will help to ensure that people with all different learning styles are able to process the information being presented. Lastly it is important to tie the information generated by assessment back to a program, department or university’s goals and mission. If this connection can’t or isn’t made the information provided is far less important to the “bigger vision” that most stakeholders have in mind.  


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

2 Responses to “Assessment”

RSS Feed for An Evolving (Student Affairs) Professional Comments RSS Feed

Portfolio Evaluation Comments: I’m wanting a little more in this section. The questions you ask at the beginning of this section are good, but they don’t exactly get at the intent of demonstrating your competency in this area. Consider the criteria for this category. I think you need to be much more overt and transparent in this section about the assessments that you’ve created/done. You include a lot of reflection about assessment and tools and the U-Engage results you received, but your actual assessment projects need to be more front and center. The blog isn’t necessarily a place where you have to publish your findings with hard data (you probably can’t do that for your conduct work), but you can discuss specifically the goal of the project, how you administered the survey or focus group, and what you learned as a result.

I’m kind of sounding like a broken record on this one particular project, but your “Environmental Audit” PowerPoint would again be good to include here. While not quantitative per se, this is an example of a project where you gathered information, assessed it, and provided feedback to constituents.


Check out these two posts for information on two assessments I created for the Office of Student Conduct and some analysis of the results.

Where's The Comment Form?


    The challenges, successes and ideas of a budding (student affairs) professional


    Subscribe Via RSS

    • Subscribe with Bloglines
    • Add your feed to Newsburst from CNET
    • Subscribe in Google Reader
    • Add to My Yahoo!
    • Subscribe in NewsGator Online
    • The latest comments to all posts in RSS


Liked it here?
Why not try sites on the blogroll...

%d bloggers like this: