Program assessment models have been created and altered from the beginning of the first cognitive synapse toward real-life problem-solving. The most simplistic procedures and goals require justifications that support them and bridge the distance between identified needs and desired results. No methodology that involves a starting point, a collection of unsatisfied wants, resources through which to consider for use, and a vision of the ideal result requires assessment planning within the pragmatism approach toward accomplishment. Albeit assessment methods range in scope, concentricity among them remains the result in order for an improvement in the current environment to facilitate a more coterminous life experience with fewer instances of interactive incongruence.
Two Assessment Models: Strengths and Weaknesses
All valuation approaches, including Altschuld and Eastmond’s as well as Gardiner, Corbitt, and Adams’, are designed to enhance the definition of needs, their identification, resource inventory, viable realistic alternatives, Gap analysis, and implementation of optimal solutions (Altschuld & Eastmond, 2010) (Gardiner, Corbitt, & Adams, 2010). Clearly, the relevance of procedural strength, as is known across process improvement bailiwicks, edifies the fact that knowledge of served populations pursuant to specific familial backgrounds increases the probability of targeted constituent success.
For example, Assurance of Learning standards (Gardiner, Corbitt, & Adams, 2010) emphasizes that while most assessment models traditionally seek similar ends through the use of mirrored processes, optimal results will occur if the targeted group as well as the people relegated to conduct the measurement, collect data, do analyses, and make recommendations are cognizant of influential nuances that differentiate the target group from others; hence illuminating needs of narrow scope and allowing consideration for resolute amelioration. Unfortunately, its weakness is that over-concern for secondary needs without considerations about the extent to which it can affect institutional longevity may be overshadowed by the motives of the party assigned to conduct the assessment or to make the final decision toward its direction.
Conversely (Altschuld & Eastmond, 2010), the former is more institution-oriented than target group-oriented. Exemplarily,
“This process will lead you to three main choices:
- 1.Determining that this need should not be looked at anymore and explaining why;
- 2.Digging much more deeply into the need and describing what might be done with our resources; and
- 3.Proceeding rapidly and directly into Phase III—postassessment (action planning)—as Phase I has revealed that this is an important area for the organization to consider” (Altschuld & Eastmond, 2010, p. 77, Para. 5).
Suffice it to say that the postsecondary school’s interest, notwithstanding its importance toward institutional longevity and legal establishment sustenance, appears to be of highest priority within this methodology; despite underlying stakeholder needs that may remain unveiled. As a result, weakness of the approach stands accentuated.
Upon review of the approaches, situations where the strengths of each model can be implemented are within settings that possess modern classrooms and physical plants irrespective of collegial size. In other words, the use of higher technological techniques to disseminate information about the assessment, as well as the implementation of its solutions to inadequacies, edifies support for email blasts, website postings, text-messaging of registered students and faculty, along with the distribution of traditional hardcopy surveys in venues highly frequented by target groups. Best practices are intended to upgrade instructional strategies and curriculum alignment, along with administrative policies and procedures, to enrich collegiality toward long-term life fulfillment. Expect, as diversity continues its evolution on postsecondary school campuses, that the need for innovative ways to address issues which hail from untraditional familial dysfunction and coping systems among students, faculty, and staff will require a more humanistic approach.
Unfortunately, privatization within higher education has already begun to foster jaded capitalistic ideals among the oligarchies for institutions of higher learning. Exemplary action like requiring students who receive financial aid to pay for multiple classes upon approval of their state and federal allocations in an attempt to offset legal fees arising from alleged previous inappropriateness is painstakingly becoming the norm (Altschuld & Eastmond, 2010).
Altschuld, J. & Eastmond, J. (2010). Needs assessment phase I getting started. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc. ISBN: 9781412978729.
Altschuld, J. & Kumar, D. ( 2010). Needs assessment: An overview. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. 1-10. Argosy University Digital Bookshelf. Retrieved from http://digitalbookshelf.argosy.edu/#/books/9781412994491/pages/17068058
Argosy University. (2011). Case study. Strategic planning. E6024 Program Planning & Evaluation. module 2. Retrieved from http://myeclassonline.com/re/DotNextLaunch.asp?
Argosy University. (2011). The planning process. E6024 Program Planning & Evaluation. module 2. Retrieved from http://myeclassonline.com/re/DotNextLaunch.asp?
Gardiner, L., Corbitt, G., & Adams, S. (2010). Program assessment: Getting to a practical how-to model. Journal of Education for Business. 85(3). 139–144. doi: 10.1080/08832320903258576.