Competency 4 – Assessment and Evaluation

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4) Assessment and Evaluation

Graduates should be able to demonstrate their understanding of and ability to employ good practices that focus on the effectiveness of student affairs programs and services. In meeting this competency, students should demonstrate their experience with/ability to…

Design and implement thorough assessment efforts including the identification of new key questions, resources, and target populations
My undergraduate degree required a survey creation and implementation class in which I learned about the intricacies of crafting useful questions and intelligible instruments. I also learned about conducting focus groups and online surveys. I really appreciate the fact that I learned a lot about assessment techniques prior to starting my higher education career. I feel that it helped my development as a professional.

While I was at UIC I was involved with the implementation of the NCHA survey. It was my first experience with assessment in student affairs. While passing out the NCHA survey to hundreds of UIC students I realized that assessment cab be fairly exhausting. I realized the benefit of assessment after we received our survey results. I was able to utilize survey data to co-create a social norms campaign that started at each new student orientation program. The student affairs culture at UIC was not pro-assessment during my experience. Eventually, it became apparent that assessment was necessary for UIC student affairs. As a result of this cultural shift, student affairs units began assessment efforts. It was during this assessment shift that I attended a workshop entitled “The Truth About Assessment.” It was designed to show the benefits of a quality assessment program.

My formal CSSA coursework regarding assessment was primarily within the CSSA Assessment in Higher Education class. I learned about the value of secondary data analysis (extant data), observation techniques, online surveys, and interviewing. Each member of the class went through the Institutional Review Board training. The IRB training was useful in that it forced me to focus on the significance of assessment within student affairs. I think that the IRB is a unit in which both student affairs and academic affairs are joined. I feel that certification and the process to become certified ensures that students and/or participants are treated in an ethical manner. The final assignment for our assessment class was to create an assessment project. I chose to create an online survey about the use of selected web pages by Native American students.

My first practicum experience with the Academic Success Center was an assessment project. I think it was the first assessment project in which I was present for a complete assessment process.

Another assessment experience occurred when I volunteered to facilitate a focus group for the OSU Library/Writing Intensive Curriculum. The task seemed simple at first. They would create the questions, set up the room, and provide incentives. I was to act as the group facilitator. It proved to be an extensive task as I worked to elicit meaningful responses from students who seemed disinterested in the subject. I was allowed to facilitate the focus group because of my professional assessment experience and my IRB Certification.

Create instruments and/or protocols for assessing important questions
I created a telephone/online survey during my first practicum at the Academic Success Center. I utilized QuestionPro.Com to create the survey. I had found it to be extremely usable during my CSSA Assessment in Higher Education course. The telephone survey for the ASC was a unique instrument. I had never designed a phone survey before and it took several drafts to create the finished product.

Credibly convey key findings and recommendations to stakeholders and constituents
After conducting my assessment project for the CSSA Assessment in Higher Education class I had to present my findings to a group of my peers as well as to CSSA faculty. It was an anxious process. I discovered that it is really easy to conduct a survey or a focus group compared to conveying assessment information that has meaning and value.

My final task for the Academic Success Center assessment project was to submit the findings of the project as well going over my data collection and formulation techniques.