Why do administrative units need to conduct assessment?
Administrative student support units should define their mission, establish goals and determine how to measure outcomes associated with those goals. The continuous process should focus on meeting the needs and expectations of various stakeholder groups including students, parents, employers and faculty and constantly strive to improve services.
Assessment can be defined as the systematic and ongoing method of gathering, analyzing and using information from various sources about an administrative unit to identify and promote greater transparency in a continuous improvement culture.
Costs of Not Measuring Performance in Administrative Units
- Decisions based on assumption rather than fact
- Failure to meet customer expectations
- Failure to identify potential improvement areas
- Lack of optimum progress toward organizational vision
Purposes of Assessment
- To Improve - The assessment process should provide feedback to determine how the administrative unit can be improved.
- To Inform- The assessment process should inform department heads and other decision-makers of the contributions and impact of the administrative unit to the development and growth of students.
- To Prove- The assessment process should encapsulate and demonstrate what the administrative unit is accomplishing for students, faculty, staff and external stakeholders.
- To Support- The assessment process should provide support for campus decision¬making activities such as unit review, resource allocations and strategic planning, as well as external accountability activities such as accreditation.
(Adapted from The "Why, What, and How of Performance Measurement", Terrell, J.D. 1999 )
Characteristics of Effective Assessment
Effective administrative unit assessment should answer these questions;
What are you trying to accomplish?
How well are you doing it?
Using the answers to #1 and #2, how can you improve current processes?
What and how does an administrative unit contribute to the development and growth
How can the student learning experience be improved?
(Adapted from Hutchings and Marchese, 1990)
Additionally, assessment is effective when:
- Assessment is viewed as a comprehensive, systematic and continuous activity.
- Assessment is viewed as a means of self-improvement.
- Assessment measures are meaningful.
- Assessment utilizes multiple measures and sources.
- Assessment is used as a management tool.
- Assessment results are valued, and are genuinely used to improve administrative units'
structure, services, and processes.
- Assessment is coordinated by one person or a team and reviewed by a committee.
- Assessment should involve the participation and input from all faculty and staff.
- Assessment includes student involvement.
(Adapted from The "Why, What, and How of Performance Measurement", Terrell, J.D. 1999)