Assessment in Higher Education
CSSA 506, Spring 2005
College Student Services Administration, Oregon State University
Day/Time: Wednesday, 2:00-4:50pm
Location: Education Hall 107
Jessica White, Ph.D.
Instructor, School of Education/CSSA
420 Education Hall
Phone: 737.8576 (office)
Eric J. Hansen, M.B.A.
Assistant Director, Marketing, Assessment, and Communications
University Housing & Dining Services
102 Buxton Hall
Phone: 737.7708 (office)
Statement of Accessibility
This class represents an environment that is open and welcoming to all students. If you believe you may
need accommodations during this class that may not traditionally be available, please contact me within
the first week of classes to plan a way to meet these needs.
You will be held accountable to the highest standards for academic integrity and should read and
understand the policy on academic integrity as published at the OSU website. For additional information
please see: http://success.oregonstate.edu/study/honesty.cfm
In general, student affairs professionals, as well as other educators, do not have prescriptive guidelines or
formulas to inform their daily practice. Instead, student affairs professionals must rely on the body of
knowledge from the scholarly literature, professional standards, and best practices, as well as personal
and professional experiences to co-create the educational environments intended to benefit all members of
the community. In today’s environment, student affairs professionals must also add the knowledge and
practice of sound assessment strategies to their professional tool box to evaluate the outcome efficiency
and effectiveness of efforts with the educational communities. With increasingly difficult, diverse, and
complex decision-making circumstances, it is essential that student affairs professionals examine
assessment techniques and how these strategies may be best employed to benefit student affairs
organizations and ultimately benefit the students.
Note #1: A general overview of this course, as well as this syllabus, class notes, and additional resources
are available via Blackboard at < http://my.oregonstate.edu >.
Course Intended Outcomes:
By completing the learning experiences and assignments in this course, it is intended that the learner will
be able to:
• Demonstrate familiarity with the purposes of assessment and fundamental assessment techniques
and evaluation as demonstrated through:
o CSSA Competency 4a: Design and implement thorough assessment efforts including the
identification of new key questions, resources, and target populations.
o CSSA Competency 4b: Create instruments and/or protocols for assessing important
o CSSA Competency 4c: Credibly convey key findings and recommendations to stakeholders
o CSSA Competency 5d: Evaluate the effectiveness of programs in meeting desired goals and
• Use the tools learned throughout the term to interact and encourage productive relationships with
colleagues and students in assistantship opportunities as well as other personal and professional
experiences as demonstrated through:.
o CSSA Competency 7a: Positively manage, develop, and engage in working relationships with
faculty, staff, and students across functional and institutional boundaries.
o CSSA Competency 7b: Take on key leadership roles though these partnerships and
• Engage in thoughtful and intellectual discussions of current and practical issues and professional
standards for Student Affairs and higher education as demonstrated through:
o CSSA Competency 1c: Standards of good practice in student affairs and ethical
responsibilities of the student affairs professional.
• Foster a learning environment that is purposeful, open, just, disciplined, caring, and celebrative.
Course Requirements (Spring 2005):
• Attendance and active, thoughtful participation in all class discussions and activities; and
• Timely and thorough completion and submission of all course assignments, including adherence
to APA guidelines for written assignments (see Publication Manual of the American
Psychological Association, 5th Ed.)
Course Assignments [200 Points total]:
All students are expected to read all assigned readings and come to class prepared to actively and
intelligently contribute to class dialogues and exercises. In addition, the following four assignments are
1. Participation [20 Points]:
Participation will be evaluated in terms of: (a) in-class attendance [10 points] and (b) level of
demonstrated engagement within the course [10 points].
2. Jigsaw Facilitation (due classes #3 and #4) [50 Points]:
Based on information gathered from the assigned reading and information gathered through
additional research, student teams will be asked to facilitate a 30-minute discussion/introduction
on a specific assessment date collection technique. Groups and topics will be selected in class
during the first session. Facets of the assignment include:
• Organizing the discussion, including completing all necessary readings and research;
• Introducing and discussion of the topic including:
o Origin of the method
o Description of the method
o How data is typically analyzed
o How rigor of the method is evaluated
o Limitations and benefits of the method
o Typical use of the method.
• Selecting learning resources and preparing a short bibliography; and making resources
accessible/available for discussion or future review;
• Directing and synthesizing the discussion and engaging your co-learners;
• Submitting your presentation outline for students and instructors to review.
The Jigsaw Facilitation will be evaluated in terms of its: (a) clarity [5 points], (b) organization [5
points], (c) success in addressing all facets of the assignments [25 points], (d) depth of analysis
3. Assessment Proposal (due class #5) [50 Points]:
Utilizing information and resources from class and related experiences, each student will design
and write a manageable scale assessment proposal. The intent of the proposal is to engage in the
process of formulating an original assessment. Estimated length for the final proposal is 4-5
pages. Facets of the assignment include:
• Identification specific performance problem/question that is of focus;
• Discussion of the rationale for focusing on this problem/question;
• Selection of an assessment approach and data collection technique and rationale for utilizing
• Identification of major activities and related timelines;
• Development of an anticipated budget; and
• Discussion of expected strengths and limitations of the proposed assessment
The Assessment Proposal will be evaluated in terms of its: (a) clarity [5 points], (b) organization
[5 points], (c) success in addressing all facets of the assignments [30 points], (d) depth of analysis
[5 points], and (e) adherence to APA guidelines [5 points].
4. Final Assessment Study (due class #10) [80 points]:
Based on the proposal developed in for assignment #3, each student will design and conduct a
final assessment and submit a related report. Each student is asked to practice at least one data
collection technique through the study. Estimated length for the final study is 8-10 pages.
Original assessment proposals should be submitted in conjunction with the final report, but is not
a part of the 8-10 pages. Facets of the assignment include thorough discussion of all steps
represented within the assessment worksheet and should include specifically:
• Report of preliminary findings;
• Discussion of initial recommendations/implications for practice; and
• Reflection regarding the assessment process and any changes that should be made to the
original proposal (i.e what did you learn?).
The Final Assessment Study will be evaluated in terms of its: (a) clarity [5 points], (b)
organization [5 points], (c) success in addressing all facets of the assignments [45 points], (d)
depth of analysis [20 points], and (e) adherence to APA guidelines [5 points].
You are responsible for demonstrating your understanding of the basic concepts of assessment in student
affairs and higher education and for meeting the course requirements in a timely and appropriate manner.
You will be expected to provide evidence that represents your development. The extent to which you
achieve the course intended outcomes will not be compared to what other students in this course do. In
accordance with University policy, you will be graded on a standard A-F system based on the successful
completion of the above requirements. In accordance with University policy, you will be graded on a
standard A-F system based on the successful completion of the above requirements.
A = 93% -100%; A- = 90%-92%; B+ = 87%-89%; B = 83%-86%; B- = 80%-82%
Required Texts (available through OSU Bookstore) [* denotes texts in which readings will be
assigned and required]:
American Psychological Association. (2001). Publication manual of the American Psychological
Association (5th ed.). Washington DC: Author.
*Upcraft, M. L., & Schuh, J. H. (1996). Assessment in student affairs: A guide for practitioners. San
Francisco: Jossey-Bass. [a copy is on reserve at the Valley Library]
*Salant, P., & Dillman, D.A. (1995). How To Conduct Your Own Survey. New
York: John Wiley & Sons. [a copy is on reserve at the Valley Library]
**Other readings will be provided via Blackboard.
Optional Texts (not necessarily available through OSU Bookstore):
Astin, A. W. (1993). Assessment for excellence. Phoenix, AZ: Oryx Press.
Bogdan, R. C., & Biklin, S. K. (1998). Qualitative research for education (3rd ed.). Boston: Allyn and
Ely, M. (with Anzul, M., Friedman, T., Garner, D., & Steinmetz, A. M.). (1991). Doing qualitative
research: Circles within circles. London: The Falmer Press.
*Palomba, C. A., & Banta, T. W. (1999). Assessment essentials: Planning, implementing, and improving
assessment in higher education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. [a copy is on reserve at the Valley
Schuh, J.H, & Upcraft, M.L. (2001). Assessment Practice In Student Affairs. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Suggested Class Schedule
Class #1 (March 30):
• Introductions and Course Overview
• Jigsaw team selection
• What is assessment (assessment vs. research)?
• Why assessment (weapon or a tool)?
• Review Assessment Project Worksheet & Activity
Class #2 (April 6):
• What does assessment look like (main types of assessment)?
Tracking Clients’ Use of Services, Programs, and Facilities (U&S, Chapter 5)
Assessing Student Needs (U&S, Chapter 6)
Assessing Student Satisfaction (U&S, Chapter 7)
Assessing Campus Environments (U&S, Chapter 8)
Assessing Student Cultures (U&S, Chapter 9)
Assessing Program and Service Outcomes (U&S, Chapter 10)
Benchmarking: Comparing Performance Across Organizations (U&S, Chapter 11)
Measuring Effectiveness Against Professional Standards (U&S, Chapter 12)
• Reviewing your department’s assessment efforts
• Assessment Workgroups (Assessment Worksheet Steps #1, #2, & #3)
• Upcraft & Schuh, chapters 1-2
• Upcraft & Schuh, chapters 5-12 (thoroughly scan each of these chapters)
• Familiarize yourself with the assessment efforts in your workplace/department. Review
documents, email, informally interview people in your workplace/department to find out what
assessment has been done, is currently being done, is intended to be done. Bring notes to
class to reference for discussion.
Class #3 (April 13):
• Qualitative vs. Quantitative…what’s the difference?
• Assessment Methods
Focus Groups (Jigsaw Group)
Extant Data (Jigsaw Group)
Observation (Jigsaw Group)
• In-Class Environmental Assessment (OSU’s Open Minds Open Doors theme)
• Upcraft & Schuh, chapters 3-4, re-read/review chapter 8
• Polomba & Banta, chapter 4 [on reserve and on Bb]
• See Blackboard for additional reading on focus groups, extant data, and observation
• Complete Assessment Worksheet Steps #1, #2, & #3
• Jigsaw Presentation (if applicable)
• Bring digital cameras if you have them
Class #4 (April 20):
• Assessment Methods
Surveys (Jigsaw Group)
Interviews (Jigsaw Group)
• Survey Design
• Survey Critique
• Technology in survey design
• Assessment Workgroups (Assessment Worksheet Steps, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8)
• Developing mid-course evaluation
• Salant & Dillman, chapter 1,2,6,7, pp 170-174 [on reserve]
• See Blackboard for additional reading on Surveys and Interviews
• Post Photos from Class #3 on Blackboard. Specify whether the photo is challenging
tagline or validating tagline.
• Jigsaw Presentation (if applicable)
Class #8 (May 18):
• Ethical Issues in Assessment
• Upcraft & Schuh, chapter 14
• Complete OSU’s IRB online training at: http://jaguar.ir.miami.edu/%7Ecitireg/forms/citi.html
• Bring copy of results to class
Class #9 (May 25):
• Assessment in the Field
• Current Events in Assessment
• OSU Campus Compact [on Bb]
• See Blackboard for additional reading on Assessment in the Field
Class #10 (June 1):
• Individual Assessment Presentations in five groups of five (Conveners: Eric Hansen, Lisa
Hoogesteger Larry Roper, Rebecca Sanderson, Jessica White)
• Course Wrap Up
• Final Assessment Project & Presentation