External evaluation can also be useful. The financial audit conducted each year is an example of external evaluation.
Observations of performance of clients can provide useful information in an assessment. An after action review might be conducted for orientation or graduation or other major events to determine strengths and weaknesses and identification of areas for improvement. Often informal observations can be turned into formal assessments by using a checklist or a rubric (see the handbook section on “Assessment for Learning” for information on checklist and rubrics). When writing the means of assessment to be used keep in mind the following:
Be specific when naming the instrument/report to be used.
Describe “to whom” and “when” the assessment will be administered.
State “by whom” and “based upon what” the results will be judged.
Indicate what level of success is desired.
For any assessment techniques that are ultimately selected to include in your assessment plan, keep the following properties of good assessment techniques in mind
Properties of Good Assessment Techniques
Valid—directly reflects the objective being assessed
Reliable—including inter-rater reliability when subjective judgments are made
Actionable—results point reviewers toward challenges that can be approached
Efficient and cost-effective in time and money
Interesting—respondents take their task seriously; staff care about results and are willing to act on them
Triangulation—multiple lines of evidence point to the same conclusion
Step 5 Conduct Assessment Activities
Data and information for your assessment should be conducted and tabulated in real time through out the academic, calendar and budget years. Much of the data and information that is collected as part of your assessment plan should be reported in your monthly and quarterly reports. As the administrative and support units track services, we should always look for ways to improve those services – not necessarily waiting until the end of an assessment cycle.
Documentation is also a critical piece. Assessment at the college is an ongoing process and works best when it is viewed across time and from multi perspectives. The college’s communications plan is addressing taxonomy and storage (both hard and soft copies) of key documents.
Step 6 Closing the loop–collective reflection and action
The most important aspect of assessment for administrative units is the description of what changes have been made to improve the quality or type of services being offered. Generally closing the loop may address among other changes: