Assessment Institute FAQ's

Click on the questions below to reveal additional information about the Assessment Institute.

How much assessment experience do I need to attend the Institute?

The NACADA Assessment Institute is designed to accommodate individuals who are just starting a journey into assessment as well as people who have more experience with mission statements, student learning outcomes, data gathering tools, and the assessment cycle.  The plenary sessions offer insight into the basic components of assessment and the small group sessions promote dialogue and activities to increase your level of expertise regardless of your level of assessment knowledge.

What will I be able to do, know, or value after completing the Institute?
  • The NACADA Assessment Institute uses the assessment cycle developed by Peggy Maki as the foundational tool.  By the end of the program, you will be able to:
    • Understand the assessment cycle as well as the four components of this cycle (check out the assessment cycle on the front page of the Assessment Institute website).
    • Development components (mission statements, student learning outcomes, process & delivery outcomes, measurement tools, etc.) to address various elements of the assessment cycle.
    • Initiate a draft assessment plan or continue structuring a current assessment plan to take back to your campus for further dialogue, commitment, and action.
  • Participants are at various places in their assessment knowledge as they begin the Institute.  Therefore, the Institute focuses on increasing every participant’s knowledge of assessment. Since everyone enters at a different place, everyone will leave at a different place, too.
  • Finally, don’t expect perfection in your first cycle of assessment. The point of assessment is learning which facilitates change to practice as well as the assessment process.
What are the benefits of bringing a team to the Institute?

The benefits are more eyes, ears, and hands to learn the assessment cycle and draft an assessment plan. Assessment is a process that often involves more than one person.  By bringing multiple members to the Institute, it offers more opportunities to meet with various faculty members, to increase understanding of the assessment cycle, and to start critical dialogues about the advising assessment plan. Since some assessment initiatives are driven by regional accreditation visits, this is a great opportunity to initiate the assessment process with all members learning the process and dialoguing about activities that will offer enhancements to your advising program.

Is it worthwhile to attend as an individual if a team from my institution cannot attend?

Most certainly. The Institute has a mix of individual participants as well as teams.  Institute faculty attempt to organize participants in small group sessions based on institutional type to increase dialogue and to share assessment techniques for a particular type of institution.  Some participants find these groupings helpful for learning during the Institute as well as someone to exchange ideas with after the Institute is over.

How will the days be structured? (A.K.A – the difference between an Institute and a Conference)

The NACADA Assessment Institute has a structure that focuses on four components.  First, there are five plenary sessions spread over 2 ½ days that introduce components of the assessment process as well as provide examples. Second, each person will participate in a small group after the plenary.  A faculty member who focuses on assessment concepts from the previous plenary facilitates these sessions.  The goal is to increase understanding of the concept within the context of your institution and type of advising.  Third, participants will be able to attend a special topics session of their choice.  These topics range from measurement tools, to the value of assessment, to change models.  Finally, participants are encouraged to use free time to work on components of the assessment cycle and begin to frame an assessment plan.  The Institute is a structured endeavor that facilitates understanding of the assessment cycle through multiple strategies.

I will participate in a level (foundational, conceptual, and operational) during the small group portion of the conference. Can I change to another level during the Institute?

As you register for the Institute, you will identify a level for your small group participation (see front page of website for these levels). These levels are based on your familiarity with assessment through your work on your campus. Once you arrive at the Institute, you and/or your faculty might adjust your level to accommodate your learning.  Don’t hesitate to talk to your faculty member about your level and a possible change.

Are their opportunities to consult with different faculty members?

The faculty are available at breakfast, lunch, breaks, reception, and other times as established by each faculty member.  The faculty assigned to your small group might offer sign-ups for one-to-one consultations during small group sessions or in the evening.  If you would like to meet with a specific faculty member, don’t hesitate to ask if she/he has some consultation time available.

Who are the faculty for the NACADA Institute?

Each faculty member for the Assessment Institute has extensive experience in assessment of academic advising using the Maki Assessment Cycle.  Some faculty members have facilitated assessment of an advising department while others have concentrated on a campus-wide assessment process.  All faculty share tools and techniques for the assessment process and look forward to a dialogue with Institute participants.

Will I leave the NACADA Assessment Institute with a complete assessment plan? Will someone be available to look at my plan for future feedback after the Institute?
  • The goal of the NACADA Assessment Institute is to facilitate the understanding of the assessment cycle.  Once you learn the cycle, you might begin to draft an assessment plan that includes a mission statement, student learning outcomes, mapping, measurement tools for data collection, analysis tools, and models for facilitating change.  It is important to remember that you learn the most about assessment from doing it and you should expect to enhance your assessment plan with each iteration of the assessment cycle. Since everyone enters the Institute at a different place, everyone will leave at a different place but with more knowledge about assessment as a process.
  • Faculty will offer review of assessment plans during the Institute if asked by participants.  Also, Assessment Institute faculty share their home institution contact information with participants to make it easy for future contact to ask questions and review plans.
Is the information presented applicable to academic advising only?

The content of the Institute is focused on understanding the four main components of the Assessment Cycle developed by Peggy Maki.  This assessment process can be used for any higher education function that is focused on the measurement of student learning outcomes.  So share this opportunity with some of your colleagues from financial aid, career services, tutoring, or other parts of your campus.

Will there be time for exploring?

Oh, it is tempting but this is a working Institute.  So plan on arriving a day earlier or staying a day later if you want explore.