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4. A collaborative consultant with skills in:
(b) Evaluation and assessment

Reflections on the Assessment and Evaluation course

I took this course on Assessment and Evaluation from Jim Tucker in July 1998, the summer that I joined the program, and as such, it was one of the first courses I took as part of my coursework.  I was still feeling stoked from the Orientation experience where I had been exposed to many new ideas.  The fact that I came from outside the academic environment meant that some of what Jim taught us about evaluation and assessment was also quite new to me.  As I read over my notes again recently, I was interested to see how completely I had missed Jim's opening point.  He started with 2 Corinthians 10:12 in the King James Version, "For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves by themselves, are not wise."  Jim recommended that we read The Poisoned Apple: The Bell Curve Crisis by Betty Wallace, which I did as part of EDUC632 Issues in Education Foundations through the end of 1998.  I spent a good part of the discussion time struggling against the confusion between the words "average" and "mediocre", and if I had just referred back to Jim's course on Assessment and Evaluation and his opening thought from Corinthians about comparing ourselves with others, I might have cottoned on a lot sooner.  The challenge is to find methods of assessment that remove the temptation to compare one person with another.

One of the exercises we did in the class was to "Give three evaluative questions and corresponding methodologies for evaluating the Andrews University Leadership Program." (see in my notes and the class summary.)  This was very informative for me, both in terms of the insights I gained into the Leadership Program, as well as the experience in using this approach for evaluation.

The individual assignment gave me further opportunity for practical experience and application of what I was learning about assessment and evaluation.  I used the opportunity to think about real life questions that had been emerging during the two years I had been at Andrews University, and I thoughtfully formed evaluative questions and developed methodologies for getting answers for the following issues:

  1. Instructor Load and Productivity - Dean's Statistics
  2. Strategic Market Position - Market Segment Analysis
  3. Attracting Students - Using the Web
  4. Retaining Students - Cohort and Retention Analysis

A further 3 credits were available for performing the work outlined in the assignment, and I initially wrote this into my course plan as it was my intention to do this for credit as well as for my job.  However, other priorities overtook me, and I changed my course plan to reflect other work that I was doing.  Nevertheless, the course has proved to be a valuable growing and learning experience that will stay with me for the remainder of my working career and beyond.

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Created: Sunday, April 21, 2003 09:15 AM
Last Modified: Monday, May 12, 2003 9:21 AM