ERIC Number: EJ1014923
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Developing a Culture of Assessment in Student Affairs
Schuh, John H.
New Directions for Student Services, n142 p89-98 Sum 2013
What is a culture of assessment? According to this author, in a culture of assessment, staff members recognize that they must collect evidence systematically to demonstrate accountability to their stakeholders, and that they must use that evidence to improve. Fundamental to the concept is the author's back-of-the-envelope definition of culture that has as a central element the phrase "how we do things here." In the case of a culture of assessment, "how we do things here" includes a commitment to stakeholders and a dedication to improvement. Some institutions already may have a culture of assessment; others may not have thought about this concept very much. Accordingly, this chapter identifies twelve elements that contribute to developing a culture of assessment in student affairs. First is a recognition that a culture of assessment recognizes that assessment is a commitment of accountability to stakeholders but also a commitment to continuous improvement. Second is a commitment to student affairs practice that is called positive restlessness and a commitment to continuous innovation. Third is that institutions with a culture of assessment are self-critical. Fourth is an approach the author identifies as data-driven decision making. Fifth, assessments need to be conducted across the institution. Sixth, using multiple forms of assessment contributes to a culture of assessment. Seventh, learning outcomes need to be identified and measured. Eighth, while someone needs to be in charge, all student affairs staff members should pitch in when it comes to assessment. The ninth element is that results are communicated and acted upon. Tenth, and closely related to number six, discretionary resources are used to seed assessment projects. Eleventh, another budgetary item, is that assessment findings are rewarded with resources. Finally, the twelfth element is that formal events are used to celebrate and discuss assessment results.
Descriptors: Educational Assessment, Evaluation Methods, Student Personnel Services, Data Collection, Accountability, Organizational Culture, Improvement, Innovation, Self Evaluation (Groups), Decision Making, Data Analysis, Outcomes of Education, Student Personnel Workers, Information Dissemination, Financial Support, Resources, Higher Education
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
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