Topic: Creating a Culture of Assessment: Determinants of Success
Date: Friday, April 12, 2013, 8:30am
Since I did the preconference on assessment earlier, I figured this would be a nice addition to my learning experience. Plus, the preconference presenters did recommend it.
- On defining a culture of assessment. Definitions can vary. One idea: an "organizational environment in which decisions are based on facts, research, and analysis."
- What it means:
- Assessment is the norm and regular practice.
- It is done for improvement, not accountability.
- It is user-focused.
- It is driven by learning and curiosity.
- Decisions are based on the results of the assessments.
- We hold ourselves to the same standards as other departments.
- Assessment can be used for advocacy and to inform teaching.
- Suggested reading: Haviland, Don, "Leading Assessment: From Faculty Reluctance to Faculty Engagement." Academic Leadership 7.1 (2009). (The citation as provided in the panel was not correct. Took some digging, but here it is.)
- Culture of assessment requires changing people's thinking.
- Suggested reading: Lakos, Amos and Shelley E. Phipps, "Creating a Culture of Assessment: A Catalyst for Organizational Change." portal: Libraries and the Academy. 4.3 (July 2004). (I thought these authors were familiar, so I checked to see if I had read this particular article. I have not, but I read another article where they are cited, thus my small sense of deja vu. I will have to read it and write it up when I get a moment).
- A learning culture committed to learning.
- We need administrators who are unfailing in terms of support and use assessment results in planning and decisions. Some say, however, that administration cannot be top down.
- Librarians need to be empowered and act on what they have learned.
- Suggested reading: Nodye, Abdou and Michele A. Parker, "Creating and Sustaining a Culture of Assessment." Planning for Higher Education 38.2 (2010). (Nice to see this one is open online).
- A couple of facilitating factors:
- If there is a campus-wide initiative for assessment.
- If the library gets involved in said initiative.
- Presenters report finding that "culture of assessment" is in the eye of the beholder. Some people may report not having a culture of assessment in their institutions, but they may have some traits of it.
- Without institutional commitment to assess, the culture of assessment is not likely to exist.
- Having faculty status (for librarians) isn't associated with culture of assessment. Some report having the culture due the obligations of tenure, or viceversa, tenure prevents assessment.
- Of the libraries reporting clear expectations and having an assessment plan, 92% reported having a culture of assessment.
- In the end: Having a clear understanding of, expectations for, and a plan for assessment. Having an administration that makes assessment a priority and leads by example by using assessment data. These are the most important factors related to a library achieving a culture of assessment.