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When Assessments Don’t Provide the Results You’re Looking For

With the barriers many in Student Affairs face to create buy-in for the much-needed assessments, it can seem like an Olympic winning when others begin to see the importance of assessments and participate. But what happens when you are past the data collection phase and your results are not what you …

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What Motivates You to Engage in Assessment and does it Matter?

 

 


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I was recently in a meeting when the subject of faculty and staff attitudes towards assessment came up in the conversation.  The discussion evolved into a debate about whether it is important that university employees value, or embrace, assessment or is it…

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Federated Assessment

In higher education, we have a number of forums where we are able to share our ideas and best practices and discuss the day-to-day challenges we encounter.  We set up working groups and committees with our colleagues, we have professional development organizations and listservs where we share resour…

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Adding to Your Assessment Toolkit: Using Time and Variance to Your Advantage

If you are engaged in assessing programs or services, you are likely interested in change – particularly in improvement. Improvement is a central tenet of assessment within the higher education context: We use assessment results to drive organizational or programmatic change – with the ultimate …

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Should You Implement a Self-Study Process?

One of the things that I love about working in higher education is the balancing act between cultivating creativity and innovation while still reinforcing tradition and history.  Our students are every day grappling with the past in order to push into the future. As educators, we try to get our stud…

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Telling Our Story through a Departmental Blog

In the field of student affairs, we know assessment and data-based decision-making are important. A key step in the assessment cycle is reporting: sharing results and decisions with stakeholders. In the Center for Student Engagement (CSE) at George Washington University, we set out to improve how we…

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Five Ways to Prioritize Assessment in Your Work

Priority boardAt the end of the spring semester, I sent a survey to Student Affairs Staff at my institution to get information about their professional development needs in the area of assessment.  In addition to asking directly about those needs, the survey also posed some questions that were indirect indicators…

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Barriers to Intentional Assessment

Recent posts on the SAAL blog have examined the importance of intentionality in the assessment cycle. The posts hit on one of the most significant hindrances to good assessment practice in student affairs work, specifically, that assessment initiatives require intentionality to be effective. Unfortu…

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Much Ado About Dashboards

The first assessment project that I ever worked on took me down a rabbit hole.  It was a major survey project that asked our first year students about their experiences during their first semester on campus.  Not only did we wind up with a good response rate, but we also had a number of dedicated pa…

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Promoting the Use of Assessment Results

Working with graduate students is great. There are a host of reasons for this, but one primary reason for me is that they keep you on your toes professionally. They ask tough questions that drive one to reflect on one’s own practice, think critically about the use of theory, and adopt different lens…

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Building a Bridge Between Student Affairs and Institutional Research

As data and assessment become more important across the university, making strong connections and collaborations with key partners should be a top priority for every Student Affairs assessment professional.  My colleague and fellow SAAL blogger, Melinda Stoops, shared her view on The Power of Coll…

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Why you should be colleagues with your technology people - and not just when something breaks

I’m not a programmer, coder, and/or software engineer. Sometimes I wish I was - the magical things that can happen when one understands the inner workings of creating things that work for computers is something I’ve always been impressed by. However, since I’m not a computer marvel, I’ve found great…

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The Power of Collaboration in Assessment Efforts

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” (Helen Keller)

I recently sent a survey to all Student Affairs employees at my University.  Within minutes, I received an email from a staff member reporting that she completed the survey, but had difficulties with a specific questi…

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You’re a Data Person: Building Data Literacy

A few years ago, I interviewed for my first job in student affairs assessment and to start the conversation one of the interviewers said to me, “So…you’re a data person.”  At the time, I did not know how to respond. Certainly while I was in graduate school I developed a strong background in quantita…

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Performance Measures to Get You to Your Destination

I was recently chatting with a colleague about performance measures. They were sharing with me a less-than-positive experience having been in an organization that used performance measures in connection with their strategic plan. As we spoke I was reminded that performance measures can be a mixed ba…

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Embracing Sisyphus or My First Year Leading University Assessment

I was an assessment ninja.

As a consultant, I could swoop into a campus, help re-establish, re-evaluate, or refine their assessment practice, and leave unnoticed. Nothing left behind but happy villagers and the memory of a moment in time when data started to inform practice.  My campus collaborat…

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Tools to help map the context of the student experience

Blurred colorful globe zoomed in on the united states

Recently, I was asked to talk to a K-20 partnership group about ways to think about student success that might exist in a “bigger picture” context that might go beyond our educational systems. This audience included administrators at our university as well as school officials such as superintend…

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Who Tells Your Story?: Reflections on NASPA’s Annual Conference

In the not-too-distant past, my family and I spent about a year of our lives immersed in the experience of Hamilton.  This included listening to songs from the musical every time we got into the car, a school project featuring Alexander Hamilton, an appearance of the Schuyler sisters in a talent…

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Intentionality: Assessment for Further Learning

As we continue to explore how we thread intentionality throughout the assessment cycle, we reflect on our selection and use of assessment measures, analyzing and sharing results, and utilizing results towards data-driven decision making and improvement. Within each stage of the later half of the ass…

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Intentionality: Entering the Assessment Cycle

Intentional (adjective): done with intention or on purpose; intended; deliberate; planned.

A term we frequently start with when hosting assessment trainings or workshops. While we teach about assessment as being most effective when its integrated into the day to day work of our roles, what we oft…

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20 blog posts