The value of assessment rests in what takes place when the results are in. Properly managing and addressing feedback results can take a significant amount of time, energy, and resources and the last thing anyone wants to do is waste such valuable entities. How do you make it all worthwhile? It is important to be upfront and honest with oneself and one’s team when it comes to the commitment that assessment demands. While commitment can terrify the masses, having a reasonable breakdown of what the commitment involved can help to make the big leap seem worthy of the investment.
Commitment of Time
Let’s be honest – assessment, when done well, is not a one-day adventure, nor an overnight fix. It is important to identify a feedback action plan inclusive of a reasonable timeline. When does feedback review commence and end? How much time do you need to allocate to various aspects of the review process? The intentionality of time dedicated to the assessment process can make or break its effectiveness.
Commitment of Accountability
Reviewing feedback is not just a formality; it is the heart of the process because it ignites the flame of accountability. We can’t un-see, un-know, un-learn feedback; diligently reviewing feedback excuse-proofs our practices as we step out of the ignorant bliss of comfort. Assessment presents significant growth opportunities for an organization, but without action, the growth is simply an opportunity. In what ways can you utilize the strengths of the reviewer(s)? What is the focus of the reviewer(s) and how can this focus impact the perception of the feedback? Who are the accountability partners to ensure the feedback is utilized properly? The inclusion of accountability in the assessment process can increase productivity and effectiveness, further confirming the value of the associated actions.
Commitment of Energy
Addressing the ambiguity of assessment results is crucial. Moving discerningly through ambiguous data means realizing assessment results will not always give us a clear next step and will require fine-tooth combing of details and sound judgement of context clues. This is sometimes where the plan gets disheveled. Interpreting data requires a wealth of energy and tenacity to develop a feedback action plan when the solutions aren’t readily and clearly available. There are risks in interpreting data, but when done intentionally, the risks are minimal. In this stage of the assessment process, there is the pressure and expectation to match the solutions with the concerns. What questions can be asked to ensure the solutions match the concerns? When we properly use our energy to “assess the assessment”, we identify the value of the commitment.
Commitment of Resources
Financial commitment is the elephant in the room. Some of the best assessment tools for both informal and formal feedback come with a price tag. Consider your goals and mission for collecting the data when there is hesitation to make the financial commitment. Making an investment in the area of assessment is strategic in growth when an organization is financially prepared to manage the results. Funding is often needed to address feedback. How can the institution, department, or organization financially prepare for assessment results? Going into an assessment process, an organization should already have a reasonable sense of strengths and challenges; as a result, assessment results often highlight what is already known to some degree. What adjustments can be made to show a financial commitment to bettering the organization, department, and institution at-large? Is assessment involved in the budget review? The financial commitment is in the results of feedback not solely the tools used for feedback.
Assessment’s value can only be found in the level at which we take action. The action of assessment involves commitment of time, energy, and resources which ultimately results in the commitment to goal attainment. How will you make the investment worthwhile? The first step is making assessment and action interchangeable terms.
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Podcast With Matt Cummings on Spirituality, Service, and Assessment