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Singing in Harmony: Assessment as a Connective Tool

Choral music has been a part of my life since I was a child.  I have nostalgic, fun-speckled memories of being part of the children’s church choir, with an emphasis on volume versus quality, and can recall my excitement at being part of a comedic Gilbert and Sullivan musical as a university undergra…

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The Educational Art of Assessment

Art museums. Quiet venues designed for the imagination.  Places of inquiry that give you a glimpse into an artist’s creative mind.

Have you ever been to an exhibit and been captivated by the lines, shapes, forms, spacing, textures, colors, or value of the artwork?  When combined with a specifi…

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How to Navigate Unexpected Assessment Results

The big moment is here!  After all your planning and hard work collecting data throughout the year, the results are in and ready to be analyzed. As you begin to dive into the results, your smile turns to a frown and you begin to feel disappointed. 

These results are not what you expected or ant…

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‘El Agua es la Vida’: Going with the Flow as an Assessment Pro


Photo credit: Renee Delgado-Riley

‘El agua es la vida,’ means ‘water is the life.’ Thus, water is a critical element for sustaining life. It is our most precious resource and we cannot control it and must leave it to Mother Nature. For generations, my ancestors lived off the land in New Mexico …

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How Do Community Colleges Assess Their Capacity for Fostering a Student-Focused Culture?

Although many higher education institutions want to improve student success outcomes and narrow achievement gaps, they become overwhelmed with initiatives and can jump to solutions without taking a comprehensive assessment of how their institution performs against best practices. Through fifteen yea…

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Processing Preferences and Assessment Models

During an assessment planning meeting with an office, as we started to dialogue on the multiple major take-aways that students interacting with their center would have, a distinct discordance started to emerge.  While one colleague clearly enjoyed expounding on the broad theoretical ways that the of…

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Back to the Future: Overcoming Time Barriers in Assessment

Assessment often requires us to work backwards.  We have a vision or dream of where we would like to go or what we would like to accomplish.  Then, we develop our main goal (i.e. program outcome) broken down into smaller goals (i.e. student learning outcomes), and even further at times into objectiv…

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Beyond Espousal: Tracking Assessment for Social Justice

 

My Life Through a Lens via Unsplash

 

Typically, assessment and social justice are seen as both peripheral and additive to the work of student affairs, as opposed to being central and integrated in the way the work is done. However, some research indicates that practitioners are wor…

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Let’s Talk About Culture & Assessment

 

Photo credit: https://www.eposts.co/what-are-the-types-of-culture/

 

So I am sure you have heard the talk? I am referring to the talk about culture and assessment. Culturally responsive assessment has emerged in conversations among the student affairs Assessment Leaders, NASPA Multi…

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Transforming Higher Education and Student Affairs through Socially Just Assessment

 

Suzanne D. Williams via Unsplash


As external forces assert increasing pressure and influence over higher education and student affairs work, college and universities are continuously called upon to demonstrate their value. In response to these accountability demands, our profession ha…

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Perfect Pairing for Assessment

 

Have you ever attempted to plan a dinner party where you are both host and executive chef?  

 

I have. I love to cook and enjoy bringing people together to enjoy the fellowship which typically occurs when friends or family gather…especially around the table! Over the years I have hoste…

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No Longer Business as Usual: The Use of Justice-Based Paradigms to Inform Assessment Practices

 

In 2013 I took a leap of faith and moved from southern California to Tucson, Arizona to support student affairs assessment and research efforts at the University of Arizona (UA).  I had always been passionate about assessment and, as my work evolved, I found it to be a powerful tool for tellin…

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SAAL Furthering Critical and Socially Just Assessment

 

Image courtesy of https://us.itarian.com/itcm-network-assessment.php?frmReg=US

 

Social Justice Assessment Project

Last year, a call went out over the SAAL listserv asking for volunteers to participate in projects related to critical approaches to assessment in Student Affairs. …

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A Decade of Discussion: Themes from the SAAL Listserv (2009 – 2018)

 

The Student Affairs Assessment Leaders (SAAL) Listserv officially began with its first posted message on January 12, 2009. Since then, the Listserv has become a place for student affairs assessment professionals to learn about and to understand their role as it developed, to discuss emergent i…

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How I Disagreed My Way to a Better Understanding of AER

 

Assessment, evaluation, and research (AER).

 

Three separate concepts, right? Some people – like me – think so. I’m of the mind each of these are different concepts with specific purposes. There can certainly be instances where interests or aspects overlap, but this occurs as each exe…

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Happy SAALutations & Involvement for 2019!

Nicolas Tissot via Unsplash

Welcoming all of you into SAAL’s 11th year, I am writing today from the occupied territory of the Nuwuvi People, the seven tribes of the Southern Paiute--and especially, the Las Vegas Paiute Tribe.

With great delight and a good measure of both humility and an…

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A Renewed Invite to the Gathering Table

It’s been a year since the SAAL Blog was launched. We’ve had 33 posts in total and helped increase website traffic and unique visitors by more than 250%! The posts have spurred and responded to topics discussed on the listserv, as well as in the field at large. With a diverse range of topics covered…

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The Value of Expressing Uncertainty

All models are wrong, but some are useful. – G.E.P. Box

Earlier this year, I caught up with a colleague at a national conference who had recently taken a new position in student affairs assessment.  Before she took the position we had discussed what to expect, but at this point she had been in …

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Logic Models & “Big” Assessment Questions

"Questions" written by hand with blue marker

What are we supposed to be assessing? What are we learning from our assessment efforts? How do we know if we are achieving our desired outcomes? How do we make sense of all the assessment data we do have? Whether you are assessing your own program, enhancing assessment within your unit, or coord…

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Slay Your Campus Assessment Monster

Is your assessment house the kind that gives away the full-sized candy bars or one that gets egged every year, as is tradition, by the neighborhood kids?  With a keen eye and some patience, you can turn into a regular Assessment Van Helsing, and slay your campus assessment monster.  Assessment monst…

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20 blog posts