Developing a programmatic assessment strategy based on the concepts of LeanSigma and evaluating selected faculty perceptions of the effectiveness of this strategy
Institutions are continually being asked to stand accountable for their programs and services through programmatic assessment of student learning. Currently, the traditional assessment strategies focus solely on outcomes and fail to address the learning processes that lead to these outcomes; however, there is an increasing call from within higher education to identify programmatic assessment strategies which focus both on the learning processes and outcomes.
The researcher developed a new strategy for assessing student learning based on the LeanSigma quality improvement concept, which is proving to be a revolutionary strategy for continual improvement in many sectors outside higher education---business, health care, government, and service industries (Pande, Neuman & Cavanagh, 2000). The purpose of this study was to: (a) develop and implement a new programmatic assessment strategy for measuring student learning in higher education based on the LeanSigma quality improvement concept and (b) evaluate faculty perceptions of the effectiveness of this strategy compared to the traditional method of programmatic assessment. Faculty experiences with the two assessment strategies were evaluated utilizing the (a) Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Program's Education Criteria and (b) the AAHE's Nine Principles of Good Practice for Assessing Student Learning.
Four academic units were selected from a small, private liberal-arts institution in Southeast Tennessee to participate in this study. The academic units were purposefully sampled into one of two conditions: (1) two academic units were sampled to use the new LeanSigma strategy and (2) two academic units were sampled to use the Traditional strategy for assessing student learning. At the conclusion of the annual assessment cycle, the researcher evaluated faculty experiences with the respective assessment strategy using the MBNQP's Education Criteria and the AAHE's Nine Principles.
The results from this study indicate the LeanSigma strategy is a more effective tool for quality improvement than the traditional strategy for assessing student learning according to the MBNQP's Education Criteria and the AAHE's Nine Principles. The LeanSigma strategy was found to be more intrinsically valued by the faculty, more focused on the key learning processes of the programs, and better suited for the formative purposes of assessment in curricular reform.
0514: School administration