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Assessment in Student Affairs: Some Thoughts on a Tricky Business Peter T. Ewell National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS) Student.

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Presentation on theme: "Assessment in Student Affairs: Some Thoughts on a Tricky Business Peter T. Ewell National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS) Student."— Presentation transcript:

1 Assessment in Student Affairs: Some Thoughts on a Tricky Business Peter T. Ewell National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS) Student Affairs Assessment Conference Emory University October 14, 2013

2 Logic of This Keynote Challenges and Dilemmas of Assessment Practice in Student Affairs: What Makes This a Tricky Business Growing Demand for the Kinds of Proficiencies at the Center of Student Affairs Some (Occasionally Odd) Techniques for Getting at These Proficiencies Using Results of Assessment to Improve Programming and Practice in Student Affairs

3 A Prefatory Comment Two Worlds of Assessment: Academic: Faculty Want to Know About that Small Piece of the Student that is Trying to Learn [Mathematics, History, etc.] Student Affairs Professional: Want to Know About the Experience and Development of the Whole Student that is Experiencing an Emotional, Attitudinal, and Cognitive Process of Transformation

4 Some Particular Challenges of Assessment in Student Affairs  The Domains of Interest are Not Easy to “Measure”  Many of Them are Affected by Dispositions to Act in Particular Ways Even Though Students “Know” What they Should Do  Attributions of Cause are Hard to Relate to Individual or Isolable Programmatic Features or Elements

5 The Growing Demand for These Kinds of Proficiencies Employer Complaints About Recent College Graduates [and What They Want Instead] Demands for Integrated Abilities and Practical Competence Reflected in Prominent Expectations Frameworks Like the Lumina Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP) and AAC&U’s LEAP Goals

6 Graduate Attributes: Top Choices for Employers from 2013 AAC&U Survey Percent Reporting “Very” and “Somewhat” Important: Ethical Judgment and Integrity – 96% Comfortable with Diverse Backgrounds – 98% Demonstrated Capacity for Professional Development – 94% Interest in Giving Back to Communities Our Company Serves – 71%

7 Some Proposed Revisions to DQP 2.0 Confronts the ethical issues present in prominent problems in politics, economics, society, scholarship, or the arts and demonstrates how at least two different ethical perspectives, influence decision making with respect to such problems Describes how knowledge from different cultural perspectives would affect inter­pretations of prominent problems in politics, society, the arts and/or global relations

8 Some AAC&U LEAP Goals Ethical Reasoning and Action Inter-Cultural Knowledge and Competence Teamwork and Problem Solving Civic Knowledge and Engagement – Global and Local Foundations and Skills for Lifelong Learning

9 Some Useful Approaches for Gathering Evidence About Values and Dispositions Survey Items and Item Construction Time Diaries and the “Beeper Study” Formal Focus Groups and Interviews Informal Observation and Imagery Checklists Rubrics Applied to Behavior and Work Products Inventories of Good Practice

10 Survey Items and Item Construction Scales with Even Numbers of Decision Points “Semantic Differential” Items Scenario Based Items (e.g. The Defining Issues Test) Open-Ended Items (e.g. “Areas and Agents of Change”)

11 Semantic Differential Items Example

12 “Areas and Agents of Change” Example

13 Observation and Imagery Develop and Pilot Clear Observational Protocols Ensure What You are Looking at is Typical For Ongoing Processes, Observe Regularly at Defined Points in Time Consider Using Photographs or Videos to Capture Demographic Mixes or Ongoing Patterns of Behavior

14 Observation and Imagery Develop and Pilot Clear Observational Protocols Ensure What You are Looking at is Typical For Ongoing Processes, Observe Regularly at Defined Points in Time Consider Using Photographs or Videos to Capture Demographic Mixes or Ongoing Patterns of Behavior

15 Some Applications of Checklists Academic Advising Service Learning Courses Internships, Field Placements Student inquiries Academic Skills Centers Residence Hall and Student Group Advisors

16 AAC&U VALUE Rubric for Teamwork T EAMWORK VALUE R UBRIC for more information, please contact Capstone 4 Milestones 3 2 Benchmark 1 Contributes to Team MeetingsHelps the team move forward by articulating the merits of alternative ideas or proposals. Offers alternative solutions or courses of action that build on the ideas of others. Offers new suggestions to advance the work of the group. Shares ideas but does not advance the work of the group. Facilitates the Contributions of Team MembersEngages team members in ways that facilitate their contributions to meetings by both constructively building upon or synthesizing the contributions of others as well as noticing when someone is not participating and inviting them to engage. Engages team members in ways that facilitate their contributions to meetings by constructively building upon or synthesizing the contributions of others. Engages team members in ways that facilitate their contributions to meetings by restating the views of other team members and/or asking questions for clarification. Engages team members by taking turns and listening to others without interrupting. Individual Contributions Outside of Team MeetingsCompletes all assigned tasks by deadline; work accomplished is thorough, comprehensive, and advances the project. Proactively helps other team members complete their assigned tasks to a similar level of excellence. Completes all assigned tasks by deadline; work accomplished is thorough, comprehensive, and advances the project. Completes all assigned tasks by deadline; work accomplished advances the project. Completes all assigned tasks by deadline. Fosters Constructive Team ClimateSupports a constructive team climate by doing all of the following: Treats team members respectfully by being polite and constructive in communication. Uses positive vocal or written tone, facial expressions, and/or body language to convey a positive attitude about the team and its work. Motivates teammates by expressing confidence about the importance of the task and the team's ability to accomplish it. Provides assistance and/or encouragement to team members. Supports a constructive team climate by doing any three of the following: Treats team members respectfully by being polite and constructive in communication. Uses positive vocal or written tone, facial expressions, and/or body language to convey a positive attitude about the team and its work. Motivates teammates by expressing confidence about the importance of the task and the team's ability to accomplish it. Provides assistance and/or encouragement to team members. Supports a constructive team climate by doing any two of the following: Treats team members respectfully by being polite and constructive in communication. Uses positive vocal or written tone, facial expressions, and/or body language to convey a positive attitude about the team and its work. Motivates teammates by expressing confidence about the importance of the task and the team's ability to accomplish it. Provides assistance and/or encouragement to team members. Supports a constructive team climate by doing any one of the following: Treats team members respectfully by being polite and constructive in communication. Uses positive vocal or written tone, facial expressions, and/or body language to convey a positive attitude about the team and its work. Motivates teammates by expressing confidence about the importance of the task and the team's ability to accomplish it. Provides assistance and/or encouragement to team members. Responds to ConflictAddresses destructive conflict directly and constructively, helping to manage/resolve it in a way that strengthens overall team cohesiveness and future effectiveness. Identifies and acknowledges conflict and stays engaged with it. Redirecting focus toward common ground, toward task at hand (away from conflict). Passively accepts alternate viewpoints/ideas/opinions.

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19 Evidence-Based Management: What Does a “Culture of Evidence” Require? Respect for the Facts Clear Goals and Objectives Concrete Evidence About the Achievement of Goals and Objectives An Attitude Toward Problem-Solving that Avoids “Finger-Pointing” Clear Follow-Through On Decisions and Why They Were Made Willingness to Stop Doing Things When They Don’t Work

20 Strategies for Addressing Key Difficulties in Building a Culture of Evidence Keep the Outcomes Framework Simple Look at Data Distributions, Not Just “Averages” Adjust the Approach to Accommodate Important Differences in Context Share Approaches Across Units Don’t Wait for Perfection

21 Some “Points of Attack” in Building Cultures of Evidence Expectations Exercises Use Results to Inform and Initiate Discussions, Rather than “Give Answers” Initiate Visible Opportunities to Consider Results and What They Mean Present Results as Discrepancies Disaggregate Results to Show Variations Package Results Around Perceived Problems or Embed Them in Regular Decision Processes

22 Some Final Reminders If It’s Important, Try to Assess It – No Matter How “Tricky” the Business Seems to Be Dispositions Matter – So Experiment with Indirect and Unobtrusive Approaches Use Multiple Forms of Evidence Wherever Possible Be Creative and Have Fun


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