Seeta Rees, 2018 Assessment Institute Scholarship Recipient
As a new academic advisor, I have tried to access as much information as possible that would provide deeper insights into academic advising for myself and would also enhance service to students in the advising department. During my information exploration, I noticed NACADA was hosting an Assessment Institute in Daytona Beach, Florida. I was fortunate to be a scholarship recipient and looked forward to discussions on seamlessly integrating assessment in my work structure, as well as examining its influence on the academic advising experience for all stakeholders. For the duration of the Assessment Institute, I reserved a room at the Plaza Resort and Spa, which had a breathtaking view of the seemingly endless beach, unbroken horizon, undulating waves, and magnificent sunsets. It was the perfect location to relax after the rigor of assessment sessions.
Information at the plenary meeting indicated that the curriculum for the Assessment Institute was carefully planned to maximize information sharing during sessions. Classes were interactive, and staff paid attention to diverse learning styles with varied activities, including both group and individual tasks. Sessions covered a variety of topics, including the purpose of assessment, how to create a vision or mission statement for one’s academic advising department, understanding a cycle of outcomes, mapping and measurement, the importance of multiple measures, and how to interpret data.
Participants were at various stages in the assessment process: many were at a point where they were brainstorming ideas, while others had an outline. Presenters skillfully guided us through the process using NACADA Pillar documents (NACADA, n.d.) as we worked to create a culture of success by using assessment in academic advising that incorporated the goals and mission statement of our institution.
Quite often, discussions extended beyond classrooms; we would share what was being done at our institutions over meals or on the outdoor patio enjoying the fresh, crisp sea breeze. It was a relief to know that we did not have to reinvent the wheel. The mission statement we were designing would be one element used to prepare outcomes from the advising experience with students. After you have established what you want students to learn, you direct your attention to appropriate measurements. It is vital to consider existing resources of both instrument and data. It was interesting to listen to other ideas about systematic planning and fun making new friends.
The Assessment Institute staff provided an abundance of information, which I have added to my academic advising toolbox; it would prove to be invaluable during advising sessions. The institute also has given me deeper insight into how assessment could be used to enhance the advising experience for all involved. It is essential to remember that in order to be effective, assessment should be a continuous process where information about learners’ educational experiences is compiled from multiple sources and results are used to improve subsequent learning. The Assessment Institute was time well-invested. I know I am better equipped with effective tools and resources to enhance the academic advising experience and am also pleased to have a support group of new-found friends.
Seeta Rees, Ph.D.
Sr. Academic Advisor-Retention Specialist
Reading Area Community College
NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising. (n.d.). Pillars of Academic Advising. Retrieved from http://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Resources/Pillars.aspx
Cite this article using APA style as: Rees, S. (2018, December). How to use assessment efficiently in academic advising. Academic Advising Today, 41(4). Retrieved from [insert url here]