Follow-up is often cited as the most important—and neglected—part of organizational projects. This is also true in academic assessment. Collecting and analyzing data is critical, but if it then sits unused, what’s the point? It could be making life easier for the people we want to support at Missouri State. It could also be a further step in “closing the loop” on assessment activities. Done properly, there are great potential benefits.
In December 2015, the Office of Assessment sponsored a new event aimed at getting the word out on what we collect, what we have to share, and how we can put this to work for colleges, departments, and administrative units as well as the institutional level. Over 50 participants from across campus joined us in a workshop setting that provided two opportunities: the chance to learn about the resources available through Assessment, and to talk through the ways this information has or could help them in their individual jobs, whether faculty or staff.
The event itself accomplished certain goals our office had in mind, but did it serve a quality purpose for the faculty and staff that attended? We were compelled to seek knowledge so that future planning might be better tailored to serve the campus community.
A small-population survey was created and distributed to workshop participants. Questions focused on the quality of the event structure and the usefulness of activities.
A post-workshop survey (86% response rate) showed a very positive reaction, with some of the responses presented below:
|Question||% Agree/Strongly Agree|
|I left knowing more about how evidence of student learning is collected at Missouri State.||100%|
|I learned things about assessment at Missouri State that I did not previously know.||97%|
|I would participate in similar events in the future.||97%|
|The facilitators were helpful.||97%|
|Workshop content will be useful to me in my work role.||86%|
|I would recommend this event to colleagues.||84%|
We’re happy that our daylong assessment event was useful to its participants. There are certainly elements of the event that will be changed or improved based on individual feedback we received. It is encouraging to know that the Missouri State community is eager to collaborate and share ideas with colleagues they might not normally see.
If you’ve planned an event that will host a significantly sized group and would like to know how participants feel, think about administering a quick survey. Here are a few things we kept in mind while designing ours:
- Have a specific purpose. Collecting information for its own sake can be counterproductive.
- Keep it simple. Short and to the point is ideal, and improves response rates.
- Keep it relevant. Follow-up should be mutually beneficial. What’s in it for participants?