How to conquer 5 common assessment challenges

February 13, 2024 Watermark Insights

Assessment is a complex process — which is why many institutions put off their assessment tasks until absolutely necessary. But it's critical for ensuring that your institution is getting the maximum return on your investments and delivering the highest possible value to your students. 

Fortunately, overcoming the challenges to assessing higher education is possible with the right tools and mindset.

What are the challenges of assessment in education?

There’s no need to continue struggling through the assessment process. Here are some simple solutions to five of the most common challenges of assessment in education.

1. You store data in multiple sources, in multiple formats

Solution: Define all key data points and formatting requirements early in the assessment process, and implement a centralized data analytics platform.

It's common for each department to use a different system to store their assessment data, creating data silos that are inaccessible to the rest of your institution. This arrangement also often results in inconsistent data formatting that causes confusion and inefficiencies later on. 

Watermark Planning & Self-Study helps you eliminate these inconsistencies by:

  • Providing a unified, easily accessible repository for your entire institution so you can generate insights at every level.
  • Unifying your assessment efforts around strategic goals through interactive dashboards and shared report templates.
  • Guiding users through the processes involved in planning and reporting to reduce errors and save time.

2. You have no way to analyze mass amounts of data

Solution: Evaluate learning outcomes through curriculum maps, assessment plans, and insightful dashboards.

Your faculty and staff have done an outstanding job collecting data from all of your courses and programs. A digital solution offers a way to easily analyze that data and keep it from being hidden in filing cabinets, on people’s computers, and in storage boxes.

Planning & Self-Study allows you to create:

  • Outcome and curriculum maps that quickly identify alignment throughout a program’s courses and activities.
  • Assessment plans that document which outcomes are being assessed and their associated measurements.
  • Insightful dashboards that paint a holistic picture of learning.

Plus, deep integrations with Watermark Outcomes Assessment Projects tie student outcome data directly to curriculum plan elements. Combining these solutions can save you valuable time on data entry and reduce the risk of human error. 

3. Your assessment process involves duplicate effort

Solution: Integrate your learning management system (LMS) with your Watermark platform to use existing data and connect planning and measurement.

Everyone wants (and needs) more efficient ways to work. That’s why having a system where you can reuse data rather than enter it multiple times into multiple systems is essential to improving assessment processes.

Planning & Self-Study saves you time by:

  • Using smart connections to resurface data from other software (like your LMS) into Planning & Self-Study.
  • Pulling in data from other Watermark platforms like Watermark Student Learning & Licensure and Outcomes Assessment Projects.
  • Streamlining collaboration with other contributors throughout every step of the process.

Greater transparency and visibility into your institutional data makes it easier to bring everyone on the same page, accelerating assessment workflows and building trust among collaborators.

4. You're spending too much time and effort creating self-studies for accreditation reporting

Solution: Take advantage of templates to guide the self-study process and achieve compliance.

Accreditation reporting can often become disorganized and time-consuming when there isn’t a definitive guide to ease the process.

Planning & Self-Study helps by:

  • Offering templates for all six regional accreditors as well as a variety of program and professional accreditation bodies
  • Using the standards and requirements of the accreditors as report outlines.
  • Updating our templates as accreditors update their standards.

Our accreditation readiness tools — including Planning & Self-Study, Watermark Course Evaluations & Surveys, and Watermark Faculty Success — work together to streamline reporting and accreditation prep, so you can confidently take on your next accreditation visit. 

5. Stakeholders disagree on what to do with assessment results

Solution: Implement a holistic analytics software solution that allows everyone to give their input.

One of the biggest challenges to assessing education is a lack of consensus among key institutional stakeholders. Administrative and faculty stakeholders in your institution should agree on how to analyze the assessment data you collect, as well as how to respond to the insights those analyses generate.

For example, several institutions have cut their philosophy majors over the past few years due to low enrollment. Faculty members at these institutions feel shortchanged by their administrations, claiming dependence on quantitative data and a lack of support for the humanities as the true reasons behind the decisions.

Planning & Self-Study can help your institution unify stakeholders and ensure your decisions align with your overall mission by:

  • Intelligently sharing data with Course Evaluations & Surveys to include student voices.
  • Providing rich, interactive visualizations for easy interpretation of key trends and insights.
  • Opening data access to all authorized users for maximum transparency and visibility.

Conquer the challenges of assessment in higher education with Watermark

If your institution needs a holistic assessment and accreditation readiness solution, Watermark's comprehensive software can help. Watch Three Ways in 30: Simplifying Assessment and Accreditation Planning for a closer look at the helpful features of Watermark’s assessment software.

Want to see the Watermark suite work in real time? Contact us today to request a customized demo of any of our solutions.

Conquer the challenges of assessment in higher education with Watermark

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