Phase Three:  Institutional Case Studies

Phase Three of our research focuses on the institutional strategies and dynamics of and the culture and climate for student assessment.  Intensive case studies of eight diverse institutions with extensive involvement in and support patterns for student assessment will be conducted.  These case studies also include a survey of faculty and administrator of the culture and climate for student assessment.  These case studies are intended to examine the institutional strategies for promoting and supporting student assessment that these exemplary institutions have developed.  Analysis of the data gathered will determine how institutional strategies, approaches to, support for, and promotion of student assessment lead to a culture and climate that enhance the use and positive academic impacts of student assessment.

The results of these case studies should provide valuable information and examples of how institutions can best support student assessment and use the resulting information. The final goal of Project 5.2 will be to use the survey and case study results to develop a model that reflects institutional strategies, support patterns, and assessment management policies and practices that can be used to help institutions make better use of student assessment to enhance their academic performance.

Site Visits

Eight Institutions with active student assessment programs were identified using the survey results from Phase Two.  We have continued to work with project area 5.3 in finalizing the case study sites and contacting these sites for permission to involve the institution in our study.  Four site visits were conducted this spring and another four will be scheduled for the fall of 2000.

Site visits involve NCPI faculty and graduate students from Projects 5.2 & 5.3 spending two days at each institution  distributing surveys and conducting interviews and focus groups with faculty, administrators, and students.  An interview protocol is used during the interviews was designed which reflects the conceptual framework based on the national survey results in Phase Two.

Preliminary drafts of the case study reports based on the interviews and focus groups will be shared with the institution for verification.  A summary of each institution's survey data will be delivered to the institutions at a later date.

The primary survey instrument for this case study phase is the Institutional Climate for Student Assessment (ICSA).  It will be distributed to tenure and tenure-track faculty members in the Arts & Sciences disciplines and academic and student affairs administrators who deal with student assessment.  The survey will be used to examine the institutional climate for student assessment by measuring the attitudes of academic and student affairs administrators, faculty, and department chairs toward student assessment and their perceptions of their institutionís student assessment policies and practices.

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