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#50. The Case of the Unflattering Data or "Should We Only Include Positive Results?"

Updated: Nov 6, 2018

The final question in "Does This Count?" October is about unflattering data.

More than one campus has asked us whether they should report only the positive results from their assessment findings. Others have confessed that their assessment results were pretty unflattering, so they were torn whether to include them in the application.

This is a GREAT question!

And if you proceed wisely, you will turn "trash" into "treasure."

This question gets at the heart of assessment.

In assessment, bad news is good news. And everything hinges on what you do with it.

Momentary Soap Box

We don't complete assessment in order to pat ourselves on the back. Well, some people do, but that is not the spirit of assessment. The spirit of assessment is to learn where we can improve. The purpose of assessment is to get curious about your weaknesses so you can transform them into strengths. If your assessment never uncovered any weaknesses, then your assessment might be shoddy.

What Does This Have to Do with Your Carnegie Application?

Picture, if you will, the members of the National Advisory Panel, the reviewers of the Carnegie applications. If all they hear from you is how easy community engagement is and how smoothly the institutionalization process has gone, are they likely to find that believable? That's a firm NO.

Give them a little credit. They know that community engagement, and especially its institutionalization, takes perseverance and a willingness to keep trying when things don't work out. And if it were really all smooth sailing, there wouldn't be a Carnegie CE Classification to apply for!

The Final Word:

Your ability to demonstrate when something has gone poorly can be a major strength in your application IF you can couple it with the decisions you made and actions you took as a result to improve that weakness. Your application will actually be stronger when this content is included than it will be without it.

Put another way, your trash will be their treasure.

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