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Program Evaluation and Assessment: Integrating Methods, Process, and Culture
Unformatted Document Text:  increase their support of the college. It allows them to see that the institution is serious about student learning, and they become aware of the capabilities of its students. Reporting In general reporting of assessment data should integrate the various types of assessment data as they relate to various program and university goals. Data that is merely catalogued and not connected to program goals stimulates less use. (Banta and Moffett 1987) Reporting also needs to incorporate the processes that were employed to get the data considered by faculty and other decision makers. By doing so the program demonstrates its investment in “closing the loop.” Finally programs need to report improvement strategies that are being advanced as a result of collegial discussions of the data. In the initial cycle of assessment, it is very typical that the initial data raises more questions than it answers. In this case, it is useful to applaud what is found and to then identify several new projects for the next assessment cycle. Often, the conversations that are part of the assessment cycle contribute to increased enthusiasm of program faculty and give them a clearer sense of the program’s goals and objectives. If so, these outcomes should be touted. Other positives that can be highlighted are that the program increased what it knows about its students and that several faculty members are making adaptations to assignments, pedagogy or advising. Curricular modification is a possibility, but a change at this level is much rarer than the types of smaller adjustments noted above. Even if impacts are “smaller”, they can add up to significant change. Culture For centuries, the quality of higher education was assumed. However criticisms and demands for increased accountability became very loud beginning in the mid-1980s. How campuses have responded to these pressures is a vital cultural influence on campus responses to 21

Authors: Young, Candace.
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increase their support of the college. It allows them to see that the institution is serious about
student learning, and they become aware of the capabilities of its students.
Reporting
In general reporting of assessment data should integrate the various types of assessment
data as they relate to various program and university goals. Data that is merely catalogued and
not connected to program goals stimulates less use. (Banta and Moffett 1987) Reporting also
needs to incorporate the processes that were employed to get the data considered by faculty and
other decision makers. By doing so the program demonstrates its investment in “closing the
loop.” Finally programs need to report improvement strategies that are being advanced as a
result of collegial discussions of the data. In the initial cycle of assessment, it is very typical that
the initial data raises more questions than it answers. In this case, it is useful to applaud what is
found and to then identify several new projects for the next assessment cycle. Often, the
conversations that are part of the assessment cycle contribute to increased enthusiasm of program
faculty and give them a clearer sense of the program’s goals and objectives. If so, these
outcomes should be touted. Other positives that can be highlighted are that the program
increased what it knows about its students and that several faculty members are making
adaptations to assignments, pedagogy or advising. Curricular modification is a possibility, but a
change at this level is much rarer than the types of smaller adjustments noted above. Even if
impacts are “smaller”, they can add up to significant change.
Culture
For centuries, the quality of higher education was assumed. However criticisms and
demands for increased accountability became very loud beginning in the mid-1980s. How
campuses have responded to these pressures is a vital cultural influence on campus responses to
21


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