Organization of the Measuring Quality Inventory

The Measuring Quality Inventory includes four categories: assessment instruments; software tools and platforms; benchmarking systems and other extant data resources; and assessment initiatives, collaborations, and custom services. The largest category of items, assessment instruments, closely parallels the types of instruments previously considered, although the number included has increased by a factor of five (from 26 to 128). This category includes examinations for assessing student knowledge, skills, and abilities for both general learning outcomes and program-specific outcomes (i.e., major field). It also includes instruments for assessing student character development, propensities toward civic involvement, leadership skills, as well as students’ attitudes toward and satisfaction with their learning experiences. Each of these instruments has a potential place within an institutional assessment program and, as noted in the previous edition, can be used as a “point of departure” for developing more context-specific assessments.

The section of the inventory for software tools and platforms presents a new class of technologies that has emerged since the previous edition, including electronic versions of traditional class evaluation surveys as well as more generic software for designing and implementing questionnaires and examinations based on local assessment needs. This section also includes assessment add-ins and third-party supplements for some of the more comprehensive course ware systems that are commonly used (e.g., Angel and Blackboard) as well as the kinds of assessment tracking systems described by what Hutchings (2009) characterized as “The New Guys in Assessment Town,” that is, for-profit assessment system and service providers.

A third section of the inventory includes benchmarking systems and extant data resources that can be used in a range of assessment efforts and are especially useful for institutional-level benchmarking and peer comparisons. Among these is the National Student Clearinghouse, which is a data resource for tracking students across institutions to assess degree completion or further education pursuits. Also included are such national data systems as the National Center for Education Statistics’ Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), the National Science Foundation’s WebCASPAR system, the College Board’s collection of Common Data Set statistics, and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s institutional classification system. A set of emerging benchmarking tools for examining faculty research productivity, such as the Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index, Scopus, and ScienceDirect, is also included within this section. The section is rounded out by institutional-level research productivity and quality measures that have been assembled by university-based research operations, such as the Center for Measuring University Performance (Arizona State University) and the Academic Rankings of World Universities (Shanghai Jiao Tong University).

A fourth section of the inventory lists a range of collaborative projects and assessment services. The services generally represent commercially available custom-tailored services for assessment instrument design and analysis, such as ACT’s Customized Survey Services and the Institute for Assessment Consultation and Outreach of the Buros Center for Testing. Also included in this section are several collaborative efforts, including commercially sponsored efforts (e.g., those by Eduventures, Inc.) as well as those sponsored by academic institutes and associations (e.g., the Consortium for Student Retention Data Exchange, the Voluntary System of Accountability, and the Association of American Colleges and Universities’ Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education).