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State Higher Education Assessment Policies: Findings from Case Studies


State Higher Education Assessment Policies: Findings from Case Studies Thomas E. Perorazio John J.K. Cole The National Center for Postsecondary Improvement Project 5.1 – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: State Higher Education Assessment Policies: Findings from Case Studies

State Higher Education Assessment Policies
Findings from Case Studies
  • Thomas E. Perorazio
  • John J.K. Cole

The National Center for Postsecondary Improvement
Project 5.1 The University of Michigan Associatio
n for Institutional Research 42nd Annual
Forum Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Session Goals
  • Discuss Policy Process for Assessment
  • Relate Important State Experiences
  • Share Lessons Learned from Cases Relevant to

The National Center for Postsecondary Improvement
Main Project Web Site http//
University of Michigan - Project
Five http//
NCPI Project Area 5.1
State Government and Regional Accreditation
Association Policies of Assessment for Student
  • Examine State Regional Policies
  • What Policies Are in Existence?
  • Impact on Institutional Assessment Practices
  • Impact on Teaching Learning
  • Utilize Policy Process Framework
  • Analyze Relationships Among Levels

Overview of Project 5.1 Research
  • Benchmarking Assessment
  • Documented Existing Policies
  • SHEAQ Survey
  • Of SHEEO Administrators
  • Literature Review
  • Case Studies

Case Study Research
  • Examine State Policies in Detail
  • Explore Critical Issues with State Officials
  • Trace Evolution and Development
  • Learn about Policys Impact on Institutions
  • Infer Lessons about the Policy Process

States Selected for Study
(with Accreditation Region)
  • New York (MSACS)
  • South Carolina (SACS)
  • Washington (NWASC)
  • Missouri (NCA/HLC)
  • Florida (SACS)

Policy Context
  • Historical, Political, Social, Economic Factors
  • Existing Policies for Accountability, Efficiency,
  • Political Climate in the State for Higher
  • Previous Political Action RE Assessment
  • Governance Structure for Higher Education
  • Relations Communications between Government,
    SHEEO, Institutions
  • Budgetary Financial Issues for Higher Education

Policy Process Framework
Five Stages
  • 1.      Problem Formation
  • Recognizing the Need for a State-level Assessment
  • 2.      Policy Formulation
  • Development of Proposed Courses of Action
  • 3.      Policy Adoption
  • Development of Support for a Specific Proposal
  • 4.      Policy Implementation
  • Application of the Policy to the Problem
  • 5.      Policy Evaluation
  • Attempt to Determine the Policys Effectiveness

(No Transcript)
Problem Formation Policy Origination
  • SHEEO Seeks to Focus Goals of Institutions on
    State Priorities
  • Statewide Planning
  • Task Forces
  • Priorities of Quality, Effectiveness, Prestige,
  • Gubernatorial/Legislative Interest in Performance
  • Desires Information on Results/Success
  • Task Force Studies
  • Data Generation Collection Measures
  • Concern about Public Perceptions of

Problem Formation (2)
  • Institutional Actions
  • Initiatives to Engage in Assessment
  • Procedures to Improve Program Quality
  • Programs to Enhance Learning
  • Public Opinion Critical for Political Will
  • Change in Political Power

Policy Formulation
Options for Consideration
  • Quality Assurance
  • Institutional Data Generation/Collection
  • Performance Indicators/Assessment Reports
  • Make Information Publicly Available
  • Increase Information to Policymakers
  • Accountability
  • State Planning Coordination
  • Institutions Meet State Goals/Targets
  • Centralized Approach to Data Analysis
  • Results Tied to Budgetary Decisions

Policy Formulation (2)
  • Institutional Improvement
  • Management Effectiveness
  • Link Measures to Accreditation Standards
  • Institutional Self-Evaluation
  • Differentiated by Sector
  • Bring Improvement Through Quality
  • Meet Both State and Institutional Goals

Policy Adoption
Four General Methods
  • Legislative Action
  • Mandate
  • Authorize SHEEO Monitor
  • Work with Institutions for Revision
  • SHEEO Authority
  • Originator of Policy
  • Monitor, Collector, Distributor of Info
  • Mediator between State, Institutions, Public

Policy Adoption (2)
  • Task Forces/Blue Ribbon Committees
  • Authority SHEEO or Legislature
  • Business Leaders, Institutional Presidents
  • Conduct Study/ Make Recommendations
  • State/System Planning
  • Process Produces Actionable Objectives
  • Assessment In Service of Plan Goals

Policy Implementation--Mechanisms
  • Reporting Institutional Statistics
  • New York, Washington, Florida
  • Performance Funding/Reporting
  • South Carolina
  • Missouri -- FFR
  • Florida
  • System Goals Institutional Improvement
  • Missouri, Washington
  • Accountability
  • Florida, South Carolina, Missouri

Policy Implementation (2)
  • Decentralized
  • State Sets Broad Parameters for Performance
  • Institutions Develop Effectiveness Plans
  • Measurement Defined by Institutions
  • Institutions Report Results up to State
  • State Makes Decisions on Aggregated Data
  • New York Washington

Policy Implementation (3)
  • Centrally-Guided
  • Prescribed State Institutional Goals
  • Performance Standards Less Variable
  • Central Data Collection Analysis
  • Findings Utilized in Budget Decisions
  • South Carolina Missouri

Policy Implementation (4)
  • Combination Approach
  • State Expectations Performance Guidelines
  • Institutional Variability for Compliance
  • Institutional Activity for Internal Improvement
  • Florida

Data Collection
Emphasis on Data Data Systems
  • Centralized Databases v. Institutional Data
  • Levels of Aggregation
  • Instruments/Testing
  • Commonality Associated with Centralization
  • Institutional Reporting
  • To SHEEO, Legislature, Public
  • Data is Reported Up the System

Data Usage for Decision Making
  • Rewards-- For Meeting Targets
  • MO SC
  • Incentives-- To Achieve State Goals
  • FL
  • Public Knowledge--Consumer Information
  • WA NY

Links to Teaching/Learning Improvements
  • Making Assessment Institution-centered
  • Public Accountability
  • Institutions Share Data on Learning
  • Revisiting Indicators Regularly
  • Close Information Loop
  • Focused Goals at Different Inst. Levels

Outcomes of Policy
  • Institutional Resistance
  • Disparate Effects
  • Negative Improvement
  • Excessive/Burdensome Requirements
  • Indicators Not Useful for Management
  • Institutional Cooperation
  • Focus on Improvement
  • Trust between SHEEO State
  • Partnership to Develop System

Policy Evaluation
  • Revisiting Adjustment
  • MO SC
  • Implementation
  • NY WA
  • Implementation Evaluation
  • FL

Lessons Learned
  • Assessment Must Be Incorporated Into
    Institutional Management
  • Successful Policies Developed in Consultation
    with Institutions
  • Culture of Institutions Can be Changed If The
    Process Contributes to Mgt

Lessons Learned (2)
  • Institutions Must Also Be Willing to Form Working
    Relationships with State Officials
  • Stakeholders at All Levels Must Be Engaged with
  • Involving Too Many Stakeholders in Development
    Bogs Process Down

Lessons Learned (3)
  • Sustained Commitment of Leadership Required
  • Political Will for Success Required
  • Policy Process Can Be As, If Not More Important
    Than Its Results

Successful Policies
  • Have a Clear Focused Purpose
  • Differentiate by Sector/Mission
  • Emphasize Institutional Improvement
  • Embrace Simpler, Rather than Complex,
    Indicator/Reporting Mechanisms
  • Incorporate Priorities of Multiple Stakeholders
  • Provide Useful Data for Decision Makers

Important Considerations
  • Context for Assessment Shapes Process
  • Policies Result In Improved Data Systems
  • Process Forces Articulation of Principles
  • New Policies May Not Replace Old Ones
  • Policy Must Be Useful to Instituions