carnegie hacks

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Carnegie Hacks are insights and tools to save you time and energy you can use to

advancing CE on your campus, instead. We post them every week, right here.

#30. Assessment Mechanisms

Updated: Sep 7, 2018

Welcome back to Assessment Month on Carnegie Hacks! This month is all about getting your ready for those prickly tracking and assessment questions that appear all throughout the application.

Now that you have started casting a wide net (see Carnegie Hack #29 for more details), the next step is to get up close and personal with the application questions.

Step 1: Do a quick find for "assessment" and "tracking" in the application framework. List them out.

*Pro Tip* If you're a member of Getting Carnegie Classified, you have a ready-to-go list of Tracking & Assessment Items. Just open the Carnegie Progress Tracker on the Questions tab. Column E will tell you whether an item is assessment-related. Voila.

Step 2: Extract the items containing the word "mechanisms."

You now have a list of the application questions pertaining to the systematic collection of data relating to tracking & assessment.

If your campus has established an institution-wide community engagement tracking & assessment system gleaning insights from the student records, students themselves, faculty, and community partners about their activities, opportunities for improvement, and evidence of impact in the last 10 years and it is merrily working away, then this is going to be easy. A list of the data collection instruments in use and some details about the administration process is all you need.

If you are hoping the application will help your campus upgrade from disjointed tracking and assessment that isn't always useful to something more comprehensive and helpful, now's your chance.

Step 3: Using the info provided by your Institutional Research office and insights into the CE programs (all referenced in Carnegie Hack #29), list out the tools being used to collect data, the sources the data is collected from, the key administrative details of the data collection like timing and delivery method, and note the key topics covered in the tool.

Now for a status update.

  1. Which mechanisms questions is your campus covering well?

  2. Which is it not covering?

  3. Which questions are you not sure about either way?

The questions you listed in answer to 2 and 3 above represent the gap between your current practices and best practices. You'll want to work towards closing that gap, and quickly.

Hold up.

It's only human to jumpstart the brainstorming about how to close these gaps and get this data collected. But, in the name of all that is good, before you launch into collecting this heretofore uncollected data, please stop and think about why.

  • Why might this data be worth having?

  • What would you do if you had evidence-based insights about it?

  • What can't you do right now because you don't have this information?

If you don't have a use in mind for the results of the data you collect, you are headed for a wild goose chase. And if you have enough spare time for a wild goose chase while you are in the midst of the Carnegie application, please head over to the Community of Practice and tell us your secret!

Next week: Assessment Results

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Getting Carnegie Classified™️ and Heather Mack Consulting, LLC operate independently from and are not affiliated with the Brown University Swearer Center for Public Service or the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.