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We Don’t Work in Silos, So Why Do We Assess in Them? Evolving Integrated Planning and Assessment Through Envisioning a Practitioner-led Approach to Systemic Improvement
Institutions of higher education are expected by accrediting agencies to perform systematic monitoring of student learning and evaluate the effectiveness of programs of study and institutional operations to identify what needs improvement and then enact planned change to improve the institution; however, many struggle to make this connection. This research study sought to address the gap between assessment and improvement experienced by staff in a community college student affairs division where I was an administrator as they learned to design and implement an assessment plan and develop action plans for change. Before college-wide implementation, the professional development program that helped them design and implement assessment plans needed to be studied to determine what factors were impacting this disconnect. While many academics called for expanding the data literacy and data analytics skills of faculty and staff, I believed there was more to the disconnect and I sought to identify what it was we needed as an institution to expand our capacity to interpret assessment results to make informed decisions that created change for institutional improvement.Through the use of participatory action research that centered the experiences of the staff performing assessment work within a system thinking approach, I facilitated a series of workshops to evaluate and understand the gap between assessment and improvement and collaboratively learn where change was needed to improve the program for broader implementation. Connecting their experiences with that of a participant questionnaire and my structured journaling, the data generated as we studied ourselves and the disconnect between assessment and improvement created an action plan for program improvement. While targeted specifically to the problems within my organization, I believe practitioners will see value in this work and consider how they may adapt their assessment practices to better use assessment for improvement and inform a future of practitioner-led assessment, planning, and improvement.
Educational leadership|Higher education|Educational technology
Cummins, Beverly M, "We Don’t Work in Silos, So Why Do We Assess in Them? Evolving Integrated Planning and Assessment Through Envisioning a Practitioner-led Approach to Systemic Improvement" (2023). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI30691774.