The development of student assessment policy in Virginia
Aper, Jeffery Paul
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The primary objectives of this study were to provide detailed understanding of: (1) the processes by which Virginia's student assessment policy developed; (2) the current expectations and intentions of policy makers in regard to assessment; and (3) the anticipated direction of state policy in regard to uses of and further requests for information documenting institutional processes and quality. Primary data for this study included over 100 document sources, supplemented by interviews with 61 individuals involved in the policy making process. Virginia's assessment policy was shaped by a national trend toward state efforts to stimulate reform and "quality assurance" procedures in higher education, as well as the interests of the State Council of Higher Education staff in using assessment to advance an agenda for review and renewal of undergraduate curricula. Student assessment has been marked in Virginia by efforts to maintain an institution-centered approach to the process. As a result of the desire not to characterize assessment as an accountability mechanism, these activities have been guided by general and somewhat vague guidelines and expectations from SCHEV and other state officials. Assurances that institutions have meaningful and appropriate programs in place were desired, but most officials had limited concepts of what would constitute such processes and further indicated little concern with obtaining or using specific data. Assessment and related activities were seen by state officials as positive and logical components of necessary self-evaluation undergone by any agency or organization. As SCHEV officials awaited the first full institutional reports in summer 1989, it was apparent that only a very negative report on the quality of institutional efforts might spur prescriptive action on the part of the General Assembly.
- Doctoral Dissertations