The Assessment Cycle

The Assessment Cycle in the Division of Student Affairs consists of 8 key components.

  1.  At the core of the assessment cycle sit the missions, visions, and values of Iowa State University and the Division of Student Affairs. It is imperative that our work – from planning to implementation, from data collection to reporting, all reflect the institution and the division.
  2. Plan – this is where we (re)define outcomes and objectives for our initiatives; it is also the first place we demonstrate the initiative’s alignment with the mission, vision, and values.
  3. Determine Methodology and Metrics – this is specific to what data will be collected and the methods that will be employed.
  4. Implement – Implement refers to actually delivering the program, event, or service envisioned in the planning stage.
  5. Collect and Analyze Data – A continuation of step 3, this is where we take the measures we developed/acquired and put them to work. We also begin to analyze our data.
  6. Evaluate Outcomes & Fidelity – Assessment in and of itself is an objective practice – data and evidence have no meaning one way or another, they’re just data and evidence. When we evaluate them, however, we place the data and evidence in a context and determine if we have accomplished what we set out to. Fidelity assessment takes this a step further, and looks for alignment of the final product with what was envisioned and answers this question: is what was done what was planned?
  7. Report and Strategize – Assessment and evaluation processes do us no good unless we actually do something with the information – and that doing doesn’t involve writing a report and shelving it. Outcomes of programs need to be shared – minimally with involved colleagues and/or supervisors. The best sharing comes when outcomes are delivered to the participants – and when changes made as a result of previous assessment are noted as such.
  8. Retool/Refine/Reimagine – the “final” step of this process asks us to consider what was learned through the collection, analysis, and evaluation of data, make changes to the initiative, and subsequently begin the planning process anew, using data and outcomes to drive programmatic or service improvements and enhancements.