As I mentioned before, by “programmatic assessment,” I mean the assessment you need to do in the programs in which your courses can be found. These include your:
- Division (I was in the Communications Division)
- College (including initiatives like a Quality Enhancement Program)
- Degree programs (for instance, the AAS and the AA needed different outcomes; also think of GenEd and Core requirements)
- Coordinating Board (in my case, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board)
- Accrediting Agency (for me, SACS)
That’s a lot of voices crying out for assessment data! And, to be honest, it gets confusing very quickly. Try not to let it beat you down, even when you are getting conflicting requests, you fall prey to the “initiative-of-the-month club,” or you feel like nobody really listens or cares.
Also, as I have mentioned before, having a college assessment coordinator really helps! Also, having a GenEd coordinator who knows about assessment helps.
The problems I have encountered mostly stem from a lack of clear communication. Don’t be afraid to ask “What needs to be assessed and when is the data due?” You’d be surprised how often administrators don’t know the answers to those questions. Further, and this is especially true when you are on a 10-year accreditation cycle, people tend to forget to collect data, and then (in total crisis mode) there is a mad scramble to find the assessments you created years before (and often the wheel must be reinvented).
Sometimes, as with Core assessment, there are big asks. For example, notice on the right in the matrix below how SPCH teachers were asked to collect essays to assess Core Objectives. This is now part of the assessment game, and we must be adaptable.
I hope to share more about programmatic assessment in the future.