Date of this Version
Systematic use of evaluation and assessment is one of the core principles guiding education. A considerable portion of current educational research addresses the effectiveness of evaluation and assessment at all levels of education. The relevance of assessment and evaluation has been dramatically increased by the current political tendency to decentralize the responsibility for educational processes. At the same time, students and parents are becoming more aware of differences in quality between schools and programs and more inclined to hold faculty and administrators accountable for their institutions' achievements. Both developments have led to a need for setting explicit standards for educational outcomes.
Assessing and Evaluating Honors Programs and Honors Colleges: A Practical Handbook is intended to serve as an on-campus companion and guide for Honors administrators by helping them to establish new practices or to strengthen established ones. Basically, this monograph provides assistance from both theoretical and practical perspectives by suggesting rationales for assessment and evaluation and offering practical ideas for implementing or strengthening assessment and evaluation practices for Honors Programs and Honors Colleges.
The reader will find rationales and objectives for evaluation and assessment practices as well as specific methods for using Honors consultants and Honors external reviewers. This monograph presents practical approaches to undertaking an Honors self-study, and it includes a self-study outline in the Appendices. Because Honors Programs and Honors Colleges differ widely in terms of administration, structure, curriculum, requirements, and institutional climate, the section related to assessment is, by necessity, more general. This handbook is not intended to standardize assessment and evaluation processes because Honors Programs and Honors Colleges value their differences and flexibility. Its purpose is to provide some guidelines to help deans and directors establish assessment and evaluation procedures that are effective for their individual programs or colleges. The monograph addresses the difference between Honors consultants and Honors external reviewers as well as the benefits derived from both sets of specialists. Very important to Honors directors and deans is the section concerning the external review process. This section provides Honors administrators explicit information on the various aspects of an external review. It details what administrators must do prior to a site visit, the goals and schedule for a successful site visit, and expectations subsequent to the site visit. The last section before the appendices offers directions for those who are interested in becoming an NCHC-recommended Site Visitor. Finally, the monograph contains appendices with several lists, examples, and models that can be useful to Honors administrators in the development of procedures for evaluating their Honors Program or Honors College.