Is Your Activity Tracker a QA System?
An educator preparation program’s quality assurance (QA) system, with feedback loops and continuous improvement mechanisms, monitors all the processes of a program so that effectiveness can be measured. A convenient feature is a dashboard to display status and progress. Your personal activity tracker may have one of those, too!
Fitness trackers reflect a movement called the quantified self, describing people’s desire to measure all the contributing factors to personal fitness. In the assessment arena, our unit of analysis is the academic program or the institution rather than the human body, but we use the same principles as in fitness tracking: data, measurement, analysis, improvement.
An accreditation goal for a program is to have a full QA system. Such a system is built over time, often with experimentation with different models. A great place to learn about these models is in AACTE’s Online Professional Seminar (OPS) #3: Creating a Quality Assurance System (one of the six short courses in the OPS series), which looks at a variety of international and U.S. models for comparison. It also provides a set of heuristic strategies for assessment coordinators and faculty groups to try out.
Whatever stage of building a QA system you are in, there is something you can use from OPS #3. As a short course with asynchronous discussions, you can set your own schedule for participation. The course is active for 4 weeks; most participants spend 1-3 hours per week, for 1-3 weeks, reading the course content and exchanging ideas with other people in the session.
Join colleagues from across the country in the next session, which begins December 14. Register here by Wednesday, December 9.
Lillian Chenoweth is principal of HigherEdLearning Consulting Group and one of the course facilitators for AACTE’s Online Professional Seminars.