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Title:Mapping the topography of the evidence use terrain in assessment of U.S. higher education: a multiple case study approach
Author(s):Jankowski, Natasha
Director of Research:Schwandt, Thomas A.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Schwandt, Thomas A.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Ikenberry, Stanley O.; Greene, Jennifer C.; Cain, Timothy R.
Department / Program:Educ Policy, Orgzn & Leadrshp
Discipline:Ed Organization and Leadership
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
evidence use
decision making
learning outcomes
Abstract:Institutions of higher education in the United States operate within a climate of accountability and transparency where they are constantly asked to provide evidence of institutional effectiveness and quality assurance to multiple stakeholders, but little is known about how institutions actually use evidence of student learning to improve. This study examined the terrain of evidence use by exploring what the process of “use” looks like within institutions and how it unfolds; how evidence is constructed for “use” in claims regarding improvement or accountability; and if conceptual frameworks exist within the assessment literature to study such “use.” Two sites were purposefully selected as nationally recognized institutions where evidence of student learning was being used to improve performance. Data were collected via interviews, webscans, and document review from both institutions over a five month period. The study found that individuals within the institutions engaged in the use of assessment data through telling evidence-based stories which involved using evidence in support of claims or arguments about improvement or accountability as told through stories designed to persuade a specific audience. The study presents evidence-based storytelling as a complex, interactive process involving individual cognition and organizational structures that is contrasted with problem-solving models of use more regularly found within assessment literature.
Issue Date:2013-02-03
Rights Information:Copyright 2012 Natasha Jankowski
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-02-03
Date Deposited:2012-12

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