This study sought to determine the influence of external standards of institutional effectiveness on program assessment in student affairs. Using a survey of director-level administrators who were members of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA), this study found that (a) the incidence of program assessment within student affairs functional areas has increased but has remained focused largely on purposes of improvement rather than accountability; (b) assessment activity in student affairs is localized and may or may not be related to broader processes that ensure institutional effectiveness; and (c) external standards do not promote a direct line of sight between critical work activities within student affairs and outcomes of institutional effectiveness. In particular, significant differences were found in the stated purposes of assessment by region and by institution type. Similarly, significant differences were found in the perceived influence and use of external standards by region and by institution type. However, there were no statistically significant differences in the perception and use of external standards by institution size. In addition, chi-square tests of independence revealed no relationship between incidence of program assessment in student affairs and region, institution type, or institution size. Recommendations for practice include creating a national assessment agenda for the student affairs profession, integrating assessment as part of a systems infrastructure within the institution, and reevaluating external standards to address student affairs functional areas more explicitly. Given increasing demand for accountability and shrinking state and federal resources for higher education, alignment between program assessment in student affairs and broader activities related to institutional effectiveness ensures that student affairs remains justified, relevant, and valued within the higher education community.
|Advisor:||Molasso, William R.|
|Commitee:||Bridges, Brian K., Jackson, Jacqueline S., Olson, Todd A., Weko, Thomas J.|
|School:||The George Washington University|
|Department:||Educational Leadership and Administration|
|School Location:||United States -- District of Columbia|
|Source:||DAI-A 70/02, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||School administration, Higher education|
|Keywords:||Accreditation, Assessment, Institutional effectiveness, Program assessment, Standards, Student affairs|
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