Assessment has a rich history in the school setting, particularly in higher education which has been an obstinate component of instructional practice intertwined with administrative efforts with the intent of addressing learning and teaching (Gardiner, 2002). Higher education assessment has evolved and developed a lot increasing psychometric approaches to teaching orientations and also enhanced education assessment. A prior plan needs to be developed ensuring that all essentials for assessment are met. Therefore, this paper gives an in-depth explanation of the three phases of the continuum of assessment essentials while judging the extent of continuum adequacy to address higher education assessment in the institutional level, course or program level and ways that use of the continuum can lead to the establishment of assessment culture.
Planning Phase Essentials
To begin with, engaging stakeholders is the first step, appropriate stakeholders need to be identified first and involved before the planning begins (“Establishing a Culture of Assessment,” n.d.). The stakeholders include faculties, academic staffs, and students’ affairs professionals who have to take part throughout the assessment. The faculty has to contribute by setting up learning objectives for education and a precise objective for academic specifications. Community representatives such as trustees and concerned employers participate in reviewing drafted statements of objectives and make suggestions for revisions as per the needs of the community.
The next step is to establish a purpose by coming up with an agreement on the objectives of the education program and understanding the way they are addressed and why it is important for effective planning (Palomba & Banta, 2000). This agreement lays a foundation that helps in guiding the choice of assessment tools to enhance the use of assessment results. Moreover, exclusive information about the objectives of higher education is provided to students and the public at large. It is essential that the faculty must take into consideration the goals, values, and vision of the institution when beginning the planning.
It is important to design a thoughtful approach to assessment planning. Members of the committee either at the department or institutional level in charge of the development of a strategy for the assessment have to discuss its purpose (Rickards & Stitt-Bergh, 2016). Summative and formative evaluations have to be considered whereby formative facilitate the performance while summative judges. Formative assessment is carried out in the course of the program with the motive of giving useful feedback while Summative assessment is carried out at the end.
Proceed to create a written plan. Documenting a written plan is an essential task in this phase. Writing an assessment plan which incorporates the agreement about what needs to be addressed while giving directions on how to carry out actions and providing ways to identify progress made (Henry, Marshall, & Ramburuth, 2014). Setting up a plan assist the institution to have a view of the assessment and therefore the plan does not have to be concise. An agreement has to be made in the institution concerning the general goals of the assessment program.
Proper time assessment is a major concern for strategic planning which is included in any new program (Bryan & Clegg, 2007). Time is very essential in making an additional assessment to a continuing program as it will take time to persuade the developers about the significance of improvement and sustainability of their efforts. It is a requirement to implement various methods of assessment instantaneously every year because assessment needs multiple methods.
The implementation phase
An effective leader is needed in order to have a successful assessment. Leaders of all levels such as president, dean, students’ affairs profession and departmental chairs (“Planning Effective Assessment,” n.d.). Out of their public actions, they are influential and can pass the message revealing how they value the assessment process and thus making it sustainable. They can encourage innovation by providing value incentives to the participants.
A selection strategy on the assessment tools or approach to use has to be discussed and agreed on. The most determining factor is whether the strategy gives useful information for instance information that shows that if students learn as per how the faculty has agreed to be important (Price, O’Donovan, & Rust, 2007). A linkage between the assessment methods and the goals for learning has to be made and also relates to the instructional activities that enhance these objectives. Assessment methods may be direct or indirect.
Higher education leaders have to make a budget for resourceful materials and also for providing staff with chances to exploit their assessment skills (Hoover, 2009). The people who take part in assessment have to be rewarded either through promotion or tenure or even through other methods such as assessment grants or assessment awards.
Educate the staff. Since the majority of the faculty members are not teachers nor assessors, it is significant that a special training program is provided to train and enable the faculty members to understand the effectiveness of the assessment and how to conduct implementation (Henry et al., 2014). The training program can be offered at an assessment office, a teaching facility or at a staff section.
An examination needs to be carried out on the processes that result into the outcomes of the student learning so as to push for improvement (Henry et al., 2014). Just measuring the outcome contribute minimal improvement. Inspection on the process that resulted to the outcome has to be done to achieve a substantial improvement. For instance, what the students and the faculty do makes a significant difference. Therefore, student involvement is measured by instruments like National Survey of Student Engagement.
Share the findings among the relevant stakeholders. Assessment has to encourage conditions whereby useful questions are raised (Price et al., 2007). Assessment strategies selected appropriately provide information that results in an improvement. Nonetheless, an analysis of the information has to be made and shared early before it can give an action basis. Those in charge of the assessment of student learning needs to held to the same standards.
The Improving and Sustaining Phase
Collection of relevant assessment evidence that is meaningful regarding students usually uses assessment in determining how much stunts have comprehended their perceived learning outcomes (Rickards & Stitt-Bergh, 2016). Albeit some assessment leaders might get prompted to rely mainly on indirect strategies of obtaining perceptions of students on their learning and their surrounding environment. Enough meaningful information is not provided.
Utilizing the results from assessment should not be strenuous mostly for a faculty member who usually adapts and often modify their courses in order to improve student learning (Bryan & Clegg, 2007). Some staff may be declined in making decisions on the basis of intuition, but the substantial value of assessment entailing on the concrete information that can be utilized in making informed strategic decisions. Administrative leaders and staff have to continuously gather information on students’ performance relating to set up program outcomes and utilize the information in improving their program.
Assessment entails learning and reexamination. A lot of the assessment process is learned. Keeping attention on how assessment is conducted indicates points of chances to improve (“Planning Effective Assessment,” n.d.). Albeit a constant meeting, every year needs to be set aside for discussing how the program is functioning, and the assessment should happen all through the process.
Utilization of the continuum can contribute to creating a culture of assessment because when the assessment is effective it will encourage the institution to always have a culture of assessment in order to even improve students’ performance (“Direct Versus Indirect Assessment of Student Learning,” n.d.). As the bible says in 2 Corinthians chapter 10 verses 13 God has provided a position for everyone and we do not have to boast beyond the limits set but rather confine ourselves to the limits God has provided (New International Version). Having constant administrative support and understanding and as well as the availability of enough resources and positive morale of the staff in the institution promotes the establishment of an assessment culture.
In essence, assessment of higher education is important in ensuring student’s performance is achieved. In order to attain academic achievement, it is evident that it is both all the assessment essentials need to be available in order for the assessment to be a success. Therefore, collaboration between various stakeholders at all levels facilitates an assessment. Each phase should be taken into consideration to ensure an effective assessment is achieved.