Assessment and Evaluation

Dean O. Smith

in Managing the Research University

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780199793259
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199896813 | DOI:
Assessment and Evaluation

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Judging the performance of a university’s research efforts involves information-gathering assessment and evaluation of the information relative to some standard. Formative evaluation examines on-going progress towards achieving a program’s goals, and summative evaluation examines the program’s outcomes at some end-point. The federal government maintains a database tabulating numerous university descriptive statistics through their Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Also, the National Science Foundation publishes national research expenditures annually, listing universities in rank order. Institutional evaluation usually involves a comparison of research expenditure rankings relative to a previous year’s position and other universities. Many institutions compare performance to a group of peer institutions with similar statistical characteristics or a separate group of more prestigious benchmark institutions that they aspire to resemble. To obtain an overall evaluation of scholarly performance, university assessment data should be expressed on a per faculty member basis whenever that makes sense. Clients’ comments constitute an informative measure of a service unit’s performance. A more powerful evaluation method, constraints analysis, is recommended especially when qualitative assessments indicate user dissatisfaction with a service office’s performance. The most comprehensive objective measure of a chief research officer’s success at nurturing the university’s research environment is institutional research productivity.

Keywords: assessment; evaluation; formative; summative; IPEDS; research expenditures; performance; constraints analysis; productivity

Chapter.  6391 words. 

Subjects: Economic Systems

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