Many of the concerns repeatedly voiced by faculty have
to do with the use of assessment data. Clearly delineating where the
data goes and who is in charge of data can rectify many of these
concerns. Aggregating data and reports at the program level provides
this kind of protection. Good assessment is dependent upon mutual
respect and collegial partnership amongst all institutional
Widespread faculty apprehension about loss of academic
freedom was principally related to external agencies and controls that
imposed standardized testing similar to that seen in K-12 schools.
Faculty-driven course and program assessment has the potential to
prevent abuses while providing a cadre of engaged and active discipline
experts. “As the constituency most vitally involved in guiding the
teaching/learning process, the faculty brings the most relevant
experience, and often the keenest professional expertise, to the
outcomes assessment task” (Volkwein, 2003, p. 9).
The use of
assessment data in personnel evaluations is an issue that should be
discussed. ACCJC-WASC Standard III states, “Faculty and others
directly responsible for student progress toward achieving stated
learning outcomes, have as a component of their evaluation,
effectiveness in producing those learning outcomes” (ACCJC-WASC, 2002,
p. 15). This standard addresses the use of assessment data for ALL
employees directly associated with student progress and includes
evidence of improvement, as well as, data indicating need for
concerned that this linkage would create pressures leading to grade
inflation, reduction of course rigor and academic standards (Collins,
2002; Simpson & Adams, 2002). In
response to significant faculty opposition, some institutions created
policies to prohibit the use of assessment data in faculty
evaluations. On the other hand, there are some scholars that argue for
the linkage of faculty evaluation in order to provide incentive for
improvement. Some have suggested
using the self-evaluation section of the evaluation process as the
component to meet this standard. What ever the decision, this is an
area that requires discussion to ensure that the loop is closed.
Who maps out where the
assessment data will go and who is responsible for it?
Have you had discussions
about the use of assessment data on your campus?
It is a good practice to
discuss these issues with the relevant stakeholders and create some ground
rules that are appropriate for your institutional culture.