This paper will first explain the 3 phases of the continuum of assessment essentials. Secondly, it will include judgments of the extent to which the continuum is adequate for addressing the different aspects of higher education assessment at all levels course, program, and institution. Finally, it will be concluded by evaluating 3 ways the continuum can be utilized to contribute to establishing a culture of assessment. Assessment as a ContinuumWhen assessment is viewed as a continuum, there are three distinct phases: planning, implementing and improving and sustaining the process (Banta et al, 2015).
Assessment is the process of defining, selecting, designing, collecting, analyzing, interpreting and using information to increase students learning and development (Westminster College, n.
During the planning phase, stakeholders are involved, identified and engaged, to construct the overall purpose of the assessment process. During this planning process the stakeholders establish the overall approach and overall statements describing ideas of what students should know, understand, and be able to do with their knowledge; design or select data gathering measures to assess whether or not our intended learning outcomes have been achieved; and to apply the results to improve individual student performance (Westminster College, n.d.). During this phase, a timetable is also reached to for implementing the ideas is formulated. These timetables are not immediate and often do not take course instantaneously, often it takes years to implement and sometimes require reevaluation as time progresses. Incorporation of both formative and summative assessment is crucial in assuring program rigor (Pellegrino et al., 2016). Formative assessment is widely accepted among faculty ranks and is the preferred method of continual improvement for that group (Ponte, 2013). Summative assessments have a stronger weight within the institutional administrative ranks and accreditation bodies (Ponte, 2013). With all assessment practices, collaboration is key to keep all constituents involved, engaged, and content (Lock & Johnson, 2015).
The implementation stage is more dependent on the university faculty, staff and students. In the phase, they play a major role in ensuring that the objectives and goals established in the planning phase are carried out to success. Results and success from the planning phase rest solely on the support of from all entities within the university. Faculty is the first source of support needed for success because they are instrumental in teaching and establishing new programs and curriculum, but the faculty must be inspired and empowered to work with administration. Empowering faculty members and administrators to discuss assessment allows for the exchange of ideas and the development of mutual understanding around assessment efforts (Russell & Markle, 2017). Implementation involves leadership providing the data collection and previous findings from the planning phase; providing appropriate resources to the departments, and informing administrators, staff, and faculty of the changes that will be implemented. Providing the data collected to the professors allows the professors to return crucial information and suggestions as to what changes and improvements need to be made. Based on the institutional values that were addressed in the planning phase the implementation phase will aim to produce relevant and reliable data for aligning curricular design, course content, and pedagogical approaches consistent with the institutions mission and values (Drexel University, n.d.)
Improving & Sustaining the Process Phase
Assessment is complex and not universally applicable among the ranges of institutions (Lock & Johnson, 2015; Rhode et al., 2017). The improving and sustaining process phase is last but not at all the least phase. From the first two phases, improvements were developed, implemented, and assessed. During this phase stakeholders and administrators come back together to review the collected date from the first two phases to look for ways to improve on the results, and ways to sustain results that were adequately met. During this phase, strong points are identified and built upon, and weaknesses are addressed and decided on whether they should be taken out or whether plans of improvement are established to bring them to satisfactory standards. The task of assessment planning, whether it is done in the Institutional Research office or not, is to build a culture of assessment that is evident in every part of the university community (Sadowski, 2002). Assessment is a constantly changing factor and always needs to be reviewed and monitored; improving and sustaining the assessment process is one of the key factors of success at a university.
Continuum in Different Aspects of Higher Education Assessment
Having a better understanding of the relationship between characteristics of faculty and course design, as communicated on course syllabi will help institutions implement assessment processes (Arteaga-Narv?ez, Rivera, & Gonz?lez, 2016). It is the responsibility of institutions to determine the proper resources needed for faculty and staff members to fully meet the needs of students in the classroom, and to meet the standards and goals of effective assessment. This comes into play with the planning stage. The planning stage at the higher education level is essential because for courses to be taught effectively, the course material, concepts, knowledge to be obtained, and the level of competence of students in the course. Universities today are increasingly emphasizing strategic planning, performance indicators, quality assurance and academic audits when evaluating education processes and the over body of academic work (Olssen & Peters, 2005). At the program level, the curriculum mapping process is adequate in the assessment continuum. By tracking assessment progress deans and department heads are the gatekeepers at embedding these practices into the university-, college-, or department-levels. The curriculum mapping process can make assessment more efficient when it is used to identify course assessments (also known as embedded assessments) that can be used to assess one or more program-level outcomes. These assessments are direct measures of student performance (Carnegie Mellon University, n.d.). Does the collected data from the assessment cause actual harm to the university if not distributed appropriately? University assessment isn’t only for current students, faculty, or staff but for the entire university community including alumni and financial supporters. Assessment for accreditation purposes effect the overall value of the university, receiving and maintaining awards and recognition based on the data collected and goals set propels the prestige of the university. This standardized evidence allows institutions to seek regional or nation prestige (Wall et al, 2014).
Culture of Assessment
Utilizing the culture of assessment learning continuum can be achieve through the involvement of faculty members, administrators, and alumni. The object of the learning continuum for faculty members should be to empower and enhance the growth and success of each student that they teach. Using the assessment information can be very helpful tool in accessing the needs of students and determining which teaching methods and concepts are best according to their learning abilities. For leadership and administrators, the continuum allows you to assess the relationship between faculty, financial supporters, and external partners. The relationship the university has with external partners through accreditation paths, university assessments, and capital gains enhances the universities standings. For alumni, the continuum allows them to still partake in the enhancement and growth of the university. Empower the university to set higher goals, increase academic achievements among faculty, staff, and students. But before any of this is achieved each stakeholder must realize and accept Psalm 37:23, “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.” We must allow the Lord to order our steps in every aspect of our lives so that whatever we put our hands to, wherever we walk it is ordained and His will is accomplished.
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Cite this essay
Assessment as a Continuum. (2019, Dec 19). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/assessment-as-a-continuum-essay