Many times, when we are examining our institution’s assessment processes, we find ourselves asking the question, “What does our regional accrediting agency expect in terms of our assessment processes?” In some ways, this hearkens back to when we were doing our chores because our parents made us. Mom wants us to wash the dishes…okay, how well does she want them washed? Now, as adults, we don’t wash the dishes “well enough,” we wash the dishes until they’re clean. Similarly, if we approach our assessment processes focused on the external demands, we’re more likely to run into problems down the road. Rather than doing assessment because “the accreditor says so,” far better to focus on the intrinsic motivations for assessment: we want to improve our programs. We want our students to learn and to be successful after they leave the institution.
Assessment practices in higher education directly impact many aspects of the institution. This can include student success and continuous improvement, among other areas. Below, we share ten ways your institution can improve your assessment process.
Each institution generally has the flexibility to define its administrative and support departments as it sees fit. A good starting point is to define administrative and support departments based on the institution’s organization chart. If you choose to define administrative and support departments differently than those shown on the organization chart, just be sure to have a good (and documented) rationale for doing so – your peer reviewers will probably ask about it during your reaccreditation process.
There are many ways in which we can assess how well our programs are reaching their goals or outcomes. If we are trying to assess non-learning program outcomes, the method will depend on the outcome itself.
It was more than a decade ago that the field of higher education started to focus on assessment. Educators were asking questions about what, and how much, students were learning throughout their experiences in higher education. At first, just assessing student learning and tracking the results was yeoman’s work.
In our last post, we talked about what the seven accreditation regions in the U.S. have in common in terms of their standards regarding institutional effectiveness. Now let’s talk about the differences in how the regions address institutional effectiveness.
I had the opportunity to present a webinar to the members of OCAIR (Overseas Chinese Association for Institutional Research, https://ocair.org/). The topic was “Institutional Effectiveness in Higher Education: A Nationwide Perspective”. In the webinar, I compared and contrasted how institutional effectiveness is discussed in the standards and principles of the seven regional accrediting agencies in the United States.