Institutional Assessment Support
There are two major forces that drive institutional assessment (IA) at most colleges and universities in the United States: compliance and improvement. In the case of compliance, institutions conduct IA to evaluate academic effectiveness in order to meet the requirements of accreditation. In the case of improvement, institutions conduct IA in order to understand what’s working well and what could be changed to increase research, teaching, and learning outcomes. Recent studies have shown that IA for improvement is increasingly focused on equity, with the goal of better supporting learning for all students.
Larger institutions typically have dedicated administrative staff that plan, implement, analyze and report on IA efforts. At smaller institutions, especially among those that are not regionally accredited, IA activities are more ad hoc and less systematic. For example, one small college in the midwest has tasked a professor of statistics with essentially the role of institutional analyst, in addition to his regular teaching and research responsibilities. This situation is typical of small colleges throughout the country. However, most institutions seek some level of accreditation–and many aspire to regional accreditation–so the value of valid and reliable IA data is high for these institutions.
Our goal is to support small colleges seeking to improve their institutional assessment efforts. In a flexible and as-needed basis, we augment ongoing IA efforts by helping academic leaders develop and implement custom IA plans and supporting data analysis and visualization that can inform decision-making.