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Assessing the AER KC

by on July 3, 2013

Ryan J. Keytack
College House Dean
University of Pennsylvania

This blog is not really intended for your typical assessment guru.  Rather I’m reaching out to those who fall into the “beginner” category so often referenced in NASPA conference books.  I still consider myself to fall into that category but have learned much because of my involvement in the Assessment, Evaluation and Research Knowledge Community.

I just returned home from the Assessment and Persistence conference in Denver, CO.  Sitting in AER planning meetings, it hit me.  I came into this role wanting to learn more assessment even though it’s not the primary role I play at my University.  I had no formal training but utilized various NASPA offerings to build my own capacity.  Upon further reflection, I realized that I’ve come a long way in the past two years.  Here’s a glimpse at my path:

  • Engaged in NASPA conferences and AER KC
  • Learned my ABCDs of writing learning outcomes
  • Assigned my first major assessment related project
  • Partnered with Campus Labs to make that project a reality
  • Conducted feedback workshops with colleagues and other campus constituencies
  • Assigned another major assessment project

The key for me was the ability to turn to colleagues I’ve met because of the AER KC.  I keep an ongoing set of notes from those conversations with others.  Here are a few of the notes I keep on my tablet and reference frequently:

  • Find your right survey tool (Qualtrics, Survey Monkey, Poll Daddy, etc.) and always ask for an educational discount whether listed or not.
  • Be careful about using mobile sites; work that plan out in advance and test try before committing.
  • Don’t forget to “pre and post” test – that method provides some of the best options for tracking learning.
  • Walk around at events with tablets to get preliminary data or use google voice to solicit instant feedback.
  • Check out online resources for national benchmarking (Complete College America is a fantastic site for graduation rates).
  • Make your department’s data programmers your best friend.

I always like to end my blog with “nothing here is new news.”  But that’s not quite right.  At one point, this information was news to me.  Whether it is to you or not, I encourage you to get involved in the AER KC.  Look for updates about the new Region 2 “Virtual Roundtables” brought to you by the AER KC.

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