Assessment Tools Your Department Can Incorporate Now

assessment tools

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How often do you evaluate the assessment tools your department uses? If you only think about data when someone above you requests it, you’re not alone and this article is for you. Depending on the manner in which your university is operating right now — i.e. remote, hybrid — it may be a great time to review your assessment plans and consider which data should be collected.

No one wants to feel unprepared or hurried to collect and report data to their supervisor. Here are a few low-key assessment tools your department could be doing right now:

User Feedback

While surveys should be written with caution and delivered sparingly, they do have a welcome place in certain situations. When we are in the building 40 hours per week and our facility is hopping with energy, we don’t really need them. We can simply observe usage patterns, chat with the participants and student employees, and have a pretty good pulse on how the user feels and what their responses would be on a survey.

But now we are operating in a way we never have before due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have additional safety measures in place, and it has changed the user experience quite a bit. There are much less participants right now, and if you’re like me, you’re primarily working from home. Go ahead and send out that survey, targeted only to the members who have visited the facility since its reopening.

Employee Feedback and Evaluation

The same thought for users goes for student employees. They need a voice, too. Do they feel safe working during this pandemic? What has been a challenge for them? Did you offer virtual training for the first time this summer? How might you evaluate how effective this delivery method was in landing the important points of your emergency action plans or new employee orientations?

Consider delivering a quiz or a game show competition like Kahoot! in your next monthly in-service meeting. Or complete your own evaluation. For example, if training included utilizing Connect2 to complete a form, pick 20 completed forms to review and tally up what was done correctly and incorrectly so you know what to focus on in your next training. A note of caution with employee quizzes and surprise checks: use them to improve and build up the team, not to tear them down. Keep it light.

Student Job Interviews

It’s already October and time to start thinking about hiring needs for the winter and spring semester. Interviews are one of the best ways to gather qualitative data about your efforts around student development. Consider asking specific interview questions for positions that involve a promotion from entry-level — facility manager, for example.

They need to be able to reflect on and translate their campus rec experiences into career-ready skills. Ask and document that answer to a question such as, “What skills have you acquired while working with Campus Recreation that make you qualified for this leadership position?”

Reporting Templates

Lastly, consider how you might create templates and calendars for ongoing reporting, so this becomes an iterative process just like fine tuning the group fitness schedule. Brainstorm all the different ways data is collected through assessment tools and all the different programs and services offered that can demonstrate the value of campus recreation to the greater campus community.

Step outside of the box with data such as the number of tours and prospective students your admissions office brings through the rec facility; the number of spectators at sport club home competitions; or the year-to-year growth of yoga class participation. Then, create a document to serve as a template for each program area so they know from Day One of the calendar year what they should be tracking and reporting. Preparing now will make that time-consuming end-of-year report much easier.

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Katie White, M.Ed., serves as the associate director of programming and assessment at Towson University Campus Recreation. Her portfolio includes competitive sports and athletic training, fitness facility and programs, outdoor adventures, student development, adaptive recreation and departmental assessment. She has over 12 years of progressive campus recreation experience that includes three major facility construction projects and the creation of a dedicated wellness department. She is a graduate of Cleveland State University and Kent State University. Katie can be reached at kwhite@towson.edu.

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