A Practitioner's Handbook for Institutional Effectiveness and Student Outcomes Assessment Implementation

A Practitioner's Handbook for Institutional Effectiveness and Student Outcomes Assessment Implementation

A Practitioner's Handbook for Institutional Effectiveness and Student Outcomes Assessment Implementation

A Practitioner's Handbook for Institutional Effectiveness and Student Outcomes Assessment Implementation

Excerpt

When the first edition of this book was published in 1989 under the title Institutional Effectiveness and Outcomes Assessment Implementation on Campus:
A Practitioner's Handbook
, it was clear that assessment of student outcomes and institutional effectiveness was already a significant movement in higher education. By the second edition, published in 1991, the movement had grown in influence, as evidenced by the increasing interest of the federal government, the activities of regional and professional accreditation associations, and the concerns expressed by governors and state legislatures. Nevertheless, this trend is still relatively new to many institutions that are implementing a program of institutional effectiveness and educational outcomes assessment and are faced with the problem of how to put relatively theoretical assessment concepts into a clearly manageable procedural form. Institutions beginning the process will particularly benefit from this third edition because it reflects the growing record of successful implementation on other campuses.

As was suggested in the Preface to the first edition of this book, the search for an implementation model is complicated by several factors. Originally institutions with national reputations in student outcomes or institutional effectiveness were often described as (a) unique, (b) being led by a Chief Executive Officer with a particularly keen interest in the subject, or (c) financially benefiting from implementation through their state funding formula and therefore able to invest heavily in the implementation process itself. Because these institutions were unique, their models of implementation seemed irreplicable, which left more traditional two-year and four-year institutions "reinventing the wheel" of outcomes assessment or institutional effectiveness implementation.

The search for an implementation model or plan is further complicated by the difficulty of adapting another institution's actions to the campus environment and the position of a number of accrediting associations. Institutional effectiveness or outcomes assessment, more than many of the processes in higher education, must be tuned to each particular campus environment. Trying to plug in procedures used at another institution is often unsuccessful. The single piece of advice most often cited by contributors to Assessment Case Studies was to adapt the implementation process to the institution and not to attempt to change the institution to fit the implementation model.

Regional and professional accrediting associations have been among the leaders in the spread of outcomes assessment or institutional effectiveness implementation. However, these accreditation bodies, while willing to set criteria for implementation results, have been in most cases understandably reluctant to specify how these mandates are to . . .

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