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ERIC Number: ED532726
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 188
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1094-6842-7
Building Capacity, Fostering Institutionalization: A Study of Assessment at Independent Colleges in the United States
Chong, Jocelyn S.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, The Claremont Graduate University
The literature on higher education assessment provides a historical context for this study and describes best practices and their challenges. While research studies have examined institutional efforts on a case-by-case basis, little quantitatively empirical research has been conducted concerning the extent to which institutions have built capacity for assessment. Given the current climate calling for greater assessment efforts, a deeper understanding of assessment institutionalization is necessary. Using adapted conceptual frameworks from the higher education and evaluation literature, an 81-item survey instrument was created. Six dimensions--resources, policies and practices, organizational and administrative support, multiple approaches, shared belief and commitment, and continuous learning--served as independent variables. Assessment institutionalization, data utilization and diffusion served as dependent variables where diffusion refers to the degree to which assessment knowledge is shared. Responses from 395 (46%) chief academic officers at regionally-accredited private higher education institutions were collected. Descriptive analyses were conducted to provide a demographic profile of the institutions and to determine existing aspects of assessment. Results using one-way ANOVA to disaggregate data by institutional type revealed that master's institutions had higher levels of resources, policies and practices, continuous learning and assessment institutionalization. Baccalaureate institutions had higher levels of organizational and administrative support while special focus institutions had higher levels of shared belief, multiple approaches, data utilization and diffusion. Using reliability tests to create composite scales, a series of regression analyses identified significant variables predicting data utilization, diffusion and institutionalization. Results indicate that having policies and practices was the strongest predictor of data utilization while engaging in continuous learning was the strongest predictor of diffusion for all institutional types. Data utilization was the strongest predictor for institutionalization. Institutional characteristics proved to be either insignificant or generally weak predictors of data utilization, diffusion and institutionalization. This study's findings supplement the existing body of knowledge by offering a conceptual model of capacity building and institutionalization. It underscores the notion that despite strong organizational and administrative support, capacity progress is dampened by inadequate resources and policies. Finally, this study affirms institutional heterogeneity and recommends that attention be paid to such differences in future assessment research. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A