A Snapshotof Student Assessment Practices In The Virginia Community Colleges

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Advanced Studies, Leadership, and Policy


Doctor of Education

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In 1987, the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) mandated institutions in Virginia to develop student assessment plans. After 21 years, Virginia community colleges are still experiencing challenges with meeting the mandate. This descriptive study provided a snapshot of the current student assessment practices in the Virginia community colleges. The administrators surveyed revealed complacency instead of a sense of urgency to meet the spirit of the SCHEV mandate. For instance, the results indicated state and accreditation requirements as the primary drivers for engaging in student assessment. Despite the fact that faculty are at the heart of assessment, they were not represented on institution-wide planning groups. Results revealed no uniform system of assessment approaches and little variation in assessment for special student populations. Most VCCS institutions collected data only upon enrollment; and did not use that data for improvement. Despite the continual improvements, the VCCS institutions are considered novices with respect to student assessment practices.