Assessment cycles and Cohorts
After the 2009-11 biennial cycle, the Institutional Effectiveness Committee focused on making the IE process more flexible, sustainable and meaningful. The goal of the committee was to create an IE cycle that allows sufficient time for units to collect, evaluate and decide how to use effectiveness data; and for supervisors, assessment directors and the Institutional Effectiveness Committee (IEC) to provide meaningful input to the process. The following issues were identified during the 2009-11 biennial cycle:
- Discussion of results, planning for the future: Because faculty members are on nine month contracts, it is difficult for departments and programs to have meaningful conversations about their complete data set prior to submission of their reports. Although reports are not due June until 30, some data are not collected until the end of spring semester and faculty contracts end at commencement (now the first weekend in May).
- Providing meaningful feedback: Because academic departments and programs may not have sufficient time to discuss data and plan action steps before submitting their reports, it is difficult for deans/directors to provide meaningful input using the current model.
- Unit workload: Because they are required to have both student learning outcomes and operational goals, academic departments and programs are required to engage in more IE assessment than administrative units
- Supervisor/IE committee workload: Because reports are submitted only in odd-numbered years, the current model simultaneously distributes 10-15 reports per dean/director/vice chancellor and over 90 reports to the IE committee in those years and no reports in even-numbered years. In addition, it would be helpful to separate the processes of providing feedback on the structure of the assessment plan (e.g., via an assessment plan rubric) from feedback on the results of the assessment plan (e.g., via dialogue with a dean/director/vice chancellor).
Changes to the process were designed to address the issues identified in the 2009-11 cycle. Input was sought from all divisions of the university including faculty, student affairs staff, finance and operations staff, chancellor’s staff, deans and the provost. These changes were approved by the Institutional Effectiveness Committee in March of 2012.
An assessment cycle is three years long, with 1/3 of units reporting each year. Each unit outcome is assessed at least once in the three year cycle, with half of the outcomes being assess in year one and the remaining outcomes assessed in year two. More frequent assessment is permitted but not required by the IEC. Units must meet to discuss the results of their assessment during the fall semester of year three. After discussing the results of assessment, units develop action plans, including any necessary changes to their IE plans. Units submit reports to their supervisors, division assessment directors, and IEC by the end of the fall semester of year three. Supervisors attend a unit meeting during the spring semester of year three to discuss the results assessments and any planned changes. The appropriate assessment director will complete an Institutional Effectiveness Rubric to provide input for plan improvement during the spring of year three.
To phase in the change from a biennial cycle to a rotating three year cycle, three cohorts were identified. Each unit had the chance to volunteer for a cohort, on a first come, first served basis. The cohorts were limited so that no Vice Chancellor, Director, Dean or other supervisor had more than 1/3 of their units to review in a given year.
- Cohort 1 – these units will only have one year of data to report on. Due to the accelerated pace of their assessment work, units choosing this cohort will receive a one-time stipend for their assessment liaison. These units collected data in 2011-12 and will report in the fall of 2012 and meet with their supervisor in the spring of 2013. Following this first report, cohort 1 will be on a three year cycle.
- Cohort 2 – These units will have 2 years of data to report and will be the first units to experience the entire 3 year cycle as it was designed. They will collect data in 2011-12 and 2012-13. Their reports will be due in the fall of 2013 and they will meet with their supervisors in the spring of 2014.
- Cohort 3 – These units will have an extra year of data collection this first cycle. Data will be collected during 2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14. Their reports will be due in the fall of 2014 and they will meet with their supervisors in the spring of 2015. Following this first report, cohort 3 will be on a three year cycle.
Last edited by firstname.lastname@example.org on October 2, 2012