As the Learning Outcomes and Assessment committee was re-formed, it became quite clear early on that it would be useful to have a common language when we were speaking about assessment. More specifically, it became especially clear that we needed some shared language with regards to discuss and reflect upon our own skills and abilities to engage in assessment activities.
Our committee quickly referred to the ACPA’s ASK Standards (ASK = Assessment Skills & Knowledge) for some guidance. As stated on ACPA’s website, the standards “articulate the areas of assessment skills and knowledge (ASK) needed by student affairs professionals in all functional areas as well as by others. ” (accessed here on October 7, 2015). The ASK standards have been reviewed and endorsed by assessment professionals and accrediting bodies and are a great tool to plan staff professional development. ACPA also published a companion guide to the ASK Standards that provides examples of the standards in practice and a more thorough explanation of the various competencies.
Our committee reviewed the ASK standards and were excited to use it as a jumping off point for our discussion. We reflected on the context of the division as well as information from our unit specific consultations as well as a Director’s needs assessment survey. We came up with a framework that we feel, at this time, reflects the context of our division. It is important to keep in mind that this framework is meant to be general and so may not suit every single individual role within the division. We ask that you spend some time thinking about the framework and the responsibilities you may have for assessment in your role.
We have identified 6 key competency theme areas with a total of 45 competencies.
- Assessment Fundamentals
- Developing Goals, Objectives and Learning Outcomes
- Data Collection and Methodology
- Analyzing Data
- Using and Sharing Data
- Navigating the Assessment Landscape
You can find the complete framework here: University of Toronto-Division of Student Life_assessment
How to Use the Framework
As a reflection tool: Take a look through the framework and think about where you stand in relation to each competency. You may ask yourself “On a scale of 1-10 how confident am I in this particular area?” Additionally- you may consider “On a scale of 1-10- how necessary is it that I master this competency based on my role?”
As a goal setting tool:Identifying your key areas of growth will help you make a plan for professional development. Once you have gone through the framework and identified areas of improvement, it is a perfect time to think about making a plan to grow and develop. There are lots of resources available to help you with your plan. We recommend speaking with your manager in order to discuss strategies to improve your assessment skills and knowledge.
As a communication tool: We are hoping that this framework will provide our division with some shared language with which to discuss assessment competencies. Feel free to use the document when speaking with peers and/or managers about assessment.
Adam Kuhn is Director of Student and Campus Community Development and co-chair of the Learning Outcomes and Assessment Committee.