AHE TIG Week: Nina Potter on Sharing Assessment Data
My name is Nina Potter and I am the Director of Assessment for the College of Education at San Diego State University. As the Director of Assessment, a large part of my job entails working with faculty and administrators in implementing program assessments plans from start to finish – designing assessments to measure program outcomes, collecting the assessment results electronically and then using the results to inform instruction and program design. I thought that in a College of Education this was going to be easy. I thought that everyone would understand the importance of collecting assessment data and sharing the data with colleagues in the College. The reality is that there is a range of knowledge and ability as well as in the willingness to share data with colleagues.
Rad Resource: Sometimes what appears to be a lack of willingness to share data is really lack of time. Faculty are busy teaching courses and doing their own research, sometimes it can be hard to find time to get a large group together in order to review data. A tool like Tableau Server allows us to share data so faculty and administrators can review it from anywhere. With Tableau you can link directly to data sources and schedule regular times to refresh the data so everyone can access the most up to date information easily. During face-to-face meetings, we can spend more time focused on what to do about the assessment results rather than on summarizing the results.
Hot Tip: Keep the charts as simple as possible so they are easy to understand at a glance. A chart like the one below (NOT actual student data) can give a quick picture comparing how students are performing on different assignments designed to measure the same standards or learning outcomes. Since people can access the charts at any time, I won’t always be around to answer questions.
Lessons Learned: Before sharing data at the course level, faculty have to have trusting relationships with each other. There are a variety of reasons why some faculty may not be willing to share the results from their courses. Examples include individual faculty being insecure about their teaching ability or faculty feeling competitive with one another. I usually start be sharing data aggregated in such a way that results by individual faculty are not visible until I have developed that trust.
The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Assessment in Higher Education (AHE) TIG Week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from AHE TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to firstname.lastname@example.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.