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Aligning assessment to organizational performance in distance education

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  • 1. Aligning Assessment to Organizational Performance in Distance Education Service Delivery Larry Nash White, Ph.D. Department of Library Science East Carolina University April 29, 2010
  • 2. Today’s Intellectual Walkabout Map11/24/12 Copyright 2010 by Larry Nash White. All rights reserved.
  • 3. Before we get started,a little story… 11/24/12 Copyright 2010 by Larry Nash White. All rights reserved.
  • 4. Introduction• Libraries and their value to stakeholders are constantly being reshaped by the dynamic service environments in which they operate.• The library’s service environment is that space, both virtual and real, where the library actively and purposefully utilizes resources to generate services and access to library and information services for its customers and stakeholders. 11/24/12 Copyright 2010 by Larry Nash White. All rights reserved.
  • 5. Introduction II• The library’s service environment and all of its constituent components drive the operational and strategic responses generated by the library to effectively respond to stakeholder needs.• The library’s strategic responses are the information services, resources, and access that the library delivers to stakeholders and customers in order to meet service needs and expectations, and respond to competitive challenges and service options available to the library’s customers and stakeholders for library and information services.• Service innovations and transitions are a critical strategic component of the library’s service response and this is especially true for libraries serving distance learners; these need to be assessed as well. 11/24/12 Copyright 2010 by Larry Nash White. All rights reserved.
  • 6. Introduction III• library stakeholders are requiring greater accountability and value creation• the library’s responses: assessment practices and reporting of internally focused, traditional measures of outputs, efficiency, and outcomes.• library service delivery and customer focus is moving outside of the walls of the library and to a customer in an uncertain (or virtual) or inconsistent region of the library’s service environment.• libraries must have and benefit from the most effective assessment processes available.• one of the most essential aspects of an effective assessment process is the alignment of the assessment process to the library’s strategic information needs and to its desired service environment impacts.• aligning the library’s assessment practices to effectively include distance service delivery is a new imperative 11/24/12 Copyright 2010 by Larry Nash White. All rights reserved.
  • 7. Literature Review• The literature of the library profession is saturated with discussions and research on historical and current assessment practices of libraries; performance assessment practices, and metrics; and the cultures of assessment in libraries.• However, the professional literature does not frequently reference the term “alignment” in regards to assessment processes directly. Searches of the terms “alignment” (and the derivative forms “align” and “aligned”) in any combination with any of the terms “assessment, evaluation, measurement, metrics, performance, and value” in the Library Literature and Information Science database and in the Library and Information Science Technical Abstracts resulted in zero findings. A similar search strategy in the Library and Information Science Abstracts database resulted in one record from 1998. In this article, Barton (1998) briefly discussed the need for the alignment of library objectives with institutional goals for digital libraries. 11/24/12 Copyright 2010 by Larry Nash White. All rights reserved.
  • 8. Literature Review II• the literature has many references to the symptoms typically associated with an unaligned assessment process in the library.• unaligned assessment processes – do not use assessment methodologies or metrics consistently – are not connected to a culture of assessment – do not involve all stakeholders from within or outside of the organization – are not connected to the service environment – Assessment processes are not innovative, adaptive, or evaluated, and are usually not valued in process or results by the organization or its stakeholders in the service environment.• the symptoms of aligned assessment processes fall generally into three categories: – lack of consensus – methodological / implementation – organizational 11/24/12 Copyright 2010 by Larry Nash White. All rights reserved.
  • 9. Consequences of unaligned assessment processes• strategic and tactical negative consequences – Negative tactical consequences are short term consequences that can affect the library for one to two strategic planning cycles, falling into three broad categories: resources, capability, and the intangibles. – resource category includes resource and service reductions (i.e. fiscal, staffing, etc.); staffing and leadership recruitment challenges; and increased demands for future reporting of assessment. – capacity category includes the library’s reduced abilities to benefit from strategic opportunities, partnerships, and collaborative actions that would strengthen the library and its value creation in the service environment and reduce communication gaps and trust issues developing between the library and stakeholders, which further decrease the creation of value by the library. 11/24/12 Copyright 2010 by Larry Nash White. All rights reserved.
  • 10. Consequences of unaligned assessment processes II• strategic and tactical negative consequences – Negative tactical consequences are short term consequences that can affect the library for one to two strategic planning cycles, falling into three broad categories: resources, capability, and the intangibles. – intangible consequences include the lowering of organizational / service environment stakeholders’ morale and expectations, diminished value creation from the library’s intellectual capital assets, and the potential devaluation of the library’s intangible assets and capabilities, further deflating stakeholder’s perceptions of the library’s value, production and capability. 11/24/12 Copyright 2010 by Larry Nash White. All rights reserved.
  • 11. Consequences of unaligned assessment processes III– Negative strategic consequences are long-term consequences that affect a library for more than 2 planning cycles. Negative strategic consequences can be grouped into two categories: tangible and intangible. • tangible strategic consequences include: – library stakeholders examining alternatives to existing library and information service delivery – funding and resource provision reductions or the loss of secure funding sources; – threatened viability of existing systems and staff, organizational restructuring and elimination – irreversible losses of stakeholder market share due to declining resources – diminished service capacity or quality may be an additional potential consequence.11/24/12 Copyright 2010 by Larry Nash White. All rights reserved.
  • 12. Consequences of unaligned assessment processes IV– Negative strategic consequences are long-term consequences that affect a library for more than 2 planning cycles. Negative strategic consequences can be grouped into two categories: tangible and intangible. • intangible strategic consequences include: – loss of institutional support and prestige – creation of stakeholder perceptions of the library as a contributor to failed strategic responses to service environment needs rather than a key component of successful need response – losses of competitive advantage gained from the library’s intangible assets (i.e. intellectual capital, brand recognition, human capital, etc.) and the service environment value created from them.11/24/12 Copyright 2010 by Larry Nash White. All rights reserved.
  • 13. So…Does your library assessment processes library display any of these negative characteristics?So how do we get aligned?And what is alignment? 11/24/12 Copyright 2010 by Larry Nash White. All rights reserved.
  • 14. What the @%*& is alignment?11/24/12 Copyright 2010 by Larry Nash White. All rights reserved.
  • 15. What the @%*& is alignment? When didyou last fly?11/24/12 Copyright 2010 by Larry Nash White. All rights reserved.
  • 16. What the @%*& is alignment? When didyou last fly? Blue angels demonstrating alignment and its importance11/24/12 Copyright 2010 by Larry Nash White. All rights reserved.
  • 17. Major Library Service Environment Factors Affecting Library Assessment 11/24/12 Copyright 2010 by Larry Nash White. All rights reserved.
  • 18. Service Environment Factors Interaction Results11/24/12 Copyright 2010 by Larry Nash White. All rights reserved.
  • 19. Characteristics of Aligned Assessment Processes• Libraries with aligned assessment processes: – use consistent metrics and practices to conduct assessment on all aspects of the library’s services and operations, including distance education service delivery. – assessment methodologies / activities are incorporated into the overall strategic planning and decision making of the library – supported by a proactive culture of assessment and dedicated resources to create effective assessment processes – internal and external library stakeholders need access to the assessment process and its results. – results of assessment are compared to the evidence of need from the library service environment for effective coverage and response 11/24/12 Copyright 2010 by Larry Nash White. All rights reserved.
  • 20. Characteristics of Aligned Assessment Processes II• Libraries with aligned assessment processes: – assessment processes and metrics should be in a constant state of innovation and incorporation of outside resources, methodologies, and expertise – assessment processes should be regularly evaluated to ensure that the assessment processes are effectively and efficiently providing the library with necessary strategic information for planning and decision making in all aspects of library operations and throughout their service environment – results of assessment should be valued by the library and the internal / external stakeholders of the library service environment and make a difference in stakeholder support of the library. – Aligned assessment builds consensus, improves effectiveness, and strengthens organization cohesion and culture while providing effective assessment evidence to the library’s stakeholders, regardless of where they are or are connected to the library. 11/24/12 Copyright 2010 by Larry Nash White. All rights reserved.
  • 21. 11/24/12 Copyright 2010 by Larry Nash White. All rights reserved.
  • 22. Alignment CharacteristicsCharacteristics of Aligned Assessment Processes (See word document) 11/24/12 Copyright 2010 by Larry Nash White. All rights reserved.
  • 23. Potential Benefits of the Progressive Assessment Alignment Conceptual Model• Libraries can improve the reporting effectiveness and value of their assessment processes by improving the alignment of their assessment processes in two ways: – internally through the use of consistent and innovative processes, metrics, and culture within the library and – externally by embracing the alignment factors and available technologies of the library’s service environment and using them as strengths in developing strategic responses• Libraries can compete more effectively• Libraries connect and demonstrate to stakeholders (internally and externally) equally regardless of where they are in the service environment 11/24/12 Copyright 2010 by Larry Nash White. All rights reserved.
  • 24. In closing, one final thought…11/24/12 Copyright 2010 by Larry Nash White. All rights reserved.
  • 25. Questions and Contact Information Larry Nash White whitel@ecu.edu 252.328-2315 11/24/12 Copyright 2010 by Larry Nash White. All rights reserved.