ERIC Number: EJ847227
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Reference Count: 4
Sustaining Assessment: A Post-Epidemiological Approach Using "The Program Evaluation Standards"
Axelson, Rick D.; Flick, Arend
Assessment Update, v21 n3 p5-7 May-Jun 2009
At a recent assessment workshop, one of the authors' colleagues, Andrew Stuart Bergerson, offered a novel metaphor for building their university's assessment program. "We need to spread the assessment virus on campus," Drew remarked, half seriously. Although they had a good laugh over this image at the time, it encapsulates the faculty-driven approach many of them seek to develop when launching new assessment initiatives. They attempt to infect prominent faculty with the assessment virus and support these carriers as they spread it campuswide. While such an epidemiological approach may be effective at creating initial enthusiasm, it is often difficult to sustain when the early adopters' interest in assessment wanes in the face of their colleagues immunity to the virus. How can they translate the momentum from early-adopting faculty leaders into a sustainable assessment program for their institution? What organizational processes and conditions are needed to support these efforts? The second edition of "The Program Evaluation Standards," released in 1994, provides thirty standards, organized along four dimensions: utility, feasibility, propriety, and accuracy. Applying these standards to assessment, the authors believe, could help structure a campus dialogue about sustainable assessment programs. Besides sensitizing discussants to the breadth of the issues requiring resolution, the standards are helpful in framing their responses to assessment discontents, who often misperceive bad assessment practices as problems inherent in all forms of assessment. Thus, to return to their original metaphor, campus dialogue informed by the standards can help them design, not merely hope for, the kinds of institutional conditions that would make assessment chronic--and, in contrast to almost all other organizational contagions, curative. How? This article provides several examples.
Descriptors: College Faculty, Teacher Attitudes, Negative Attitudes, Program Evaluation, Standards, College Outcomes Assessment
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Authoring Institution: N/A