Resources for Administrative and Educational Support Units

Components of Annual Assessment Reports

Offices or units that provide administrative or educational support services should:

  • identify expected outcomes, and
  • assess the extent to which it achieves these outcomes.

Additionally, offices or units that provide educational support services should:

  • provide evidence of seeking improvement based on analysis of their results.

Mercer currently uses an online platform, Anthology Planning, for completing and submitting assessment reports that achieve the three requirements listed above. Within Anthology Planning, each office or unit should track and report their outcomes using one of the outcome templates, which provides a place to report on assessment methods and results for each outcome in the program. A second plan item, the "Update and Improvement Plan" will be useful for offices or units that specifically provide educational support services. It is in this template that programs reflect on how their assessment data shows an attempt to improve student learning and/or programmatic. The Update and Improvement Plan also provides these offices or units the opportunity to include a narrative about upcoming changes or strategies they plan to implement in order to improve their program. 

Instructions for Accessing Plan Items in Anthology Planning

Instructions for Using Anthology Planning to Manage Outcomes

Instructions for Using Anthology Planning to Complete an Update and Improvement Plan (Ed Support Units only)

How to Run and Export Annual Assessment Reports in Anthology Planning

Review of Annual Assessment Reports

Every year, the University Assessment Council reviews and provides feedback on the assessment reports from office or units that provide administrative and educational support services. The intent of this review is to provide constructive feedback that will aid these units in using appropriate assessment data for continuous programmatic improvement. The UAC uses a rubric for reviewing the administrative and educational support assessment reports (rubric modified from Fulcher 2018, James Madison University). Note that the rubric has four performance levels (beginning, developing, good, and exemplary) and there are descriptions for the criteria at each performance level. To illustrate what would qualify a report as beginning, developing, good, or exemplary, please see the example reports below for a fictional Health Center (modified from Fulcher and Alahmadi, 2023, Assessment 101). Each of the example reports is followed by some descriptions of notable aspects of the report.

Beginning Example

Notes on Beginning Example

  • This report could be vastly improved by including a mission statement for the unit. Mission statements are key components of administrative and educational support assessment plans, as the mission statement provides some context for the unit's outcomes. That is, the mission statement provides grounding and rationale for why the unit has the outcomes that it has.
  • The outcome itself could be improved by including some additional context and a specific target or benchmark. To whom are the staff giving the flu shots? How many flu shots would they like to administer? What is the rationale for that target?
  • The strategies/activities section could benefit from some more detail and holistic thinking. Certainly ordering the vaccines will be an important step in administering the shots, but there are likely several other important steps, too. For example, how will student know when and where to go to get the vaccine? It may be important to consider advertising as an important strategy/activity.
  • The assessment method and results in this example need to be more carefully considered. As its currently described, the assessment method reduces this outcome to a binary question (yes or no), which makes it impossible to assess "the extent to which" the outcome was achieved. It would be preferable to track or measure how many flu shots were actually administered.
  • Because of the scarcity of informative data, the Update and Improvement Plan in this example is too shallow. It doesn't include a thorough narrative about past efforts or a "forward-looking" description of how the health center plans to improve its operation in the future.
  • Finally, this report notes that the assessment data was shared with a high-level administrator (VP for Student Services), but there isn't any information related to follow up discussions or how this data was used to drive continuous improvment.

Developing Example

Notes on Developing Example

  • This report is improved over the "beginning" example, as it contains a mission statement (albeit a short one). This mission statement helps provide some larger context for the outcomes to team members within the Health Center and to any potential external reviewers.
  • The outcome is also improved. It contains some additional information related to the target audience for the outcome (students) and a specific benchmark or goal for success (1,100 shots). It could be improved, though, by including some rationale for that particular benchmark. 
  • The strategies/activities to help meet the outcome are more holistic and thorough, but could still be improved with some additional detail. For example, how will the flu shots be advertised (emails, flyers, etc.)?
  • The assessment method in this report is seemingly an improvement over the "beginning" example, as it appears that the Health Center is actually using data or metrics to measure the extent to which they achieved their target of 1,100 flu shots. What that data is and how it is collected, though, isn't very clear. This section of the report could be improved by including some additional detail related to the Health Center's dashboard and the type of information that can be collected from it. This is especially important when considering potential external reviewers, as they likely don't have any prior knowledge about an institution's software, platforms, etc. It is key to not assume any prior knowledge and to provide this information in the report.
  • The Update and Improvement Plan has a vague "forward-looking" plan about monitoring the situation. This narrative could be improved with some more thoughtful details about what is going to be monitored and how. If the low vaccine numbers here are indeed part of a "fluke", it would be helpful if they compared this year's results to that of previous years, too.
  • Similar to the Beginning Example, this report notes that the assessment data was shared with a high-level administrator (VP for Student Services). It also indicates that the information was shared with the Health Center staff, which is a good addition, as the staff will are in a better position to discuss and implement improvements. There isn't any description, though, of how the staff are using this information to make those improvements.

Good Example

Notes on Good Example

  • This report has a well-crafted and thorough mission statement that provides some larger context for the outcomes.
  • Similar to the "developing" example, this report has a good outcome with a specific benchmark or target for success. Additionally, it also contains some alignment with larger, institution-wide goals. It could still be improved by including some rationale for the stated benchmark.
  • The strategies/activities to help achieve the outcome are holistic and thorough.
  • The assessment method is thoroughly described and gives some good context for the type of data and how it is being collected.
  • The assessment results are specific and an appropriate conclusion is drawn relative the benchmark
  • The Update and Improvement Plan could benefit from some more thoughtful narrative related to why the target may have been missed, including some comparisons to previous years' results.
  • The foward-looking improvement plan is good, but isn't well connected to that year's assessment. That is, it appears that the action plan is focusing on better advertising the flu shots, so were there indications that the low numbers for this year were related to insufficient advertising?
  • The Sharing of Restuls section in this report indicates that the assessment data is also being shared with the student body and ties it to the advertising strategies mentioned earlier in the report.

Exemplary Example

Notes on Exemplary Example

  • This report has a well-crafted and thorough mission statement that provides some larger context for the outcomes.
  • The outcome in this report is similar to that of the "good" example, but it also provides a rationale for the stated benchmark or target for success.
  • The strategies/activities to help achieve the outcome are holistic and thorough, and it specifies new strategies that are being implemented.
  • The assessment results are specific and thorough. This year's data is compared to both the benchmark and to previous years' data.
  • The Update and Improvement Plan includes a thorough "backward-looking" analysis of this year's assessment and how it fits into the larger, long-term assessment cycle of the health center.
  • The Update and Improvment Plan also includes a specific "forward-looking" action plan that is clearly based on previously collected assessment data.
  • Similar to the Good Example, the Sharing of Restuls section in this report indicates that the assessment data is also being shared with the student body and ties it to the advertising strategies mentioned earlier in the report.

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