PERSONAL QUALITIES AND HUMAN DEVELOPMENT IN HIGHER EDUCATION: ASSESSMENT IN THE SERVICE OF EDUCATIONAL GOALS
Arthur W. Chickering
George Mason University
The title for my chapter covers a lot of territory. I will try to address it in a way that sets the stage for the various contributions to follow. To assess personal qualities and human development in the service of educational goals means confronting at least three complex challenges. First, we need to articulate clear institutional goals, to specify the personal qualities and dimensions of human development we aim to foster. Second, we need to be clear about institutional policies and practices that encourage or inhibit those outcomes. Third, we need to identify, or create, instruments and methods for assessing progress -- or regress -- on the desired outcomes.
Research evidence, dating back to Newcomb ( 1943) studies of Bennington College, indicates that clear and consistent institutional objectives make significant contributions to student development. In their comprehensive 1991 review of the literature, How College Affects Students, Pascarella and Terenzini say,
the effects of specific within-college programs, conditions, or experiences consistently appear to be smaller than the overall net effect of college.... Furthermore, while the impact of any single sub-environment may be small or modest, the cumulative effect of all sub-environments -- if they are mutually supportive -- can be substantial. Thus, instead of singular, large, specially designed, and campus-wide programs to achieve a