Professor Angela Girdley
May 05, 2015
Journal – Assessment Culture
Reflection is a crucial part of the learning process. This Journal is an opportunity to reflect on your own thoughts and feelings as you learn and grow through this course. Reflective Journal entries are assigned in selected units in this course. The Reflective Journal is different from course Discussion topics in that only your instructor will see the Reflective Journal entries. You should complete your readings for the unit and participate in at least some of the course discussion before completing your Journal entries.
Taking into consideration what you have learned about online assessment over the past units, think about your current place of employment. If you are not currently working, you may use a former place of employment, or hypothesize a potential future place of employment.
Is there an overarching philosophy of assessment? If yes, define this philosophy. If no, how might you assist this organization in defining a philosophy of assessment?
I have been in the education sector now for just a little over a year. At first blush, I would say No; there is definitely not an overarching philosophy of assessment at the ground campus I am currently employed by. What appears to be the primary focus of the school is to get “bodies” through the door. However, in order to nurture a culture of assessment, it demands that as educators we remain focus on institutional curiosity. A successful assessment program will sustain itself if faculty and staff are involved in measuring and evaluating outcomes that we truly care about. As one of the school’s Career Advisors, I am constantly assessing whether or not a pending graduate or alumni graduate have the skillsets (both soft and technical) to perform in a job. I believe my biggest contribution will be providing direct and candid feedback from employers about or students and their abilities once they are on the job. In my opinion, this direct feedback from the employer should be one of the foundations that student learning goals are formulated. Assessment is really not about complying with external mandates from system offices or accrediting agencies. While these external forces are on the periphery of our assessment efforts, they should not prescribe what we deeply care about as a college.
How does (or how could) this philosophy address the needs of the organization's stakeholders (internal as well as external)?
Identifying successful programs and courses early can help later when organized assessment is started. Starting with the assessment of successful programs offers several benefits:
Effective teaching/learning efforts of faculty members and students are validated.
The admissions, public relations, and development offices have substantive research information to use when publicizing the institution and its programs.
External stakeholders have concrete, rather than anecdotal, evidence of the quality of the institution and its programs.
Faculty members and administrators in other programs can learn from the successes of their colleagues. https://www.msche.org/publications/SLA_Book_0808080728085320.pdf What activities are in place (or could be in place) to support this philosophy of assessment?
From what I have observed over the past fifteen months the college engages in several projects and assessment activities that support and inform our assessment efforts. For example:
Exit Surveys — Kaplan-Pittsburgh conducts an annual survey of graduating seniors, which collects information about their plans for employment or graduate school. The Career Services Department shares summaries of these results with the local partnering the Community College and with the public.
Alumni Surveys — Kaplan-Pittsburgh conducts several forms of Alumni Surveys. These surveys collect feedback about learning gains, the contributions of various undergraduate