Met with my Midwestern Neighbors

I had the pleasure of attending the Wisconsin Early Childhood Association (WECA) conference last Friday. I was invited by the Wisconsin State Affiliate ACCESS group to talk about my personal experiences with the self-study process, and then to talk about the direction ACCESS is headed in supporting Associate Degree faculty as they pursue various avenues of program improvement including, but not limited to, the ECADA process.

It was terrific to sit down with faculty from various institutions who are at different stages of the self-study process. They wanted to hear my story, particularly what it was like to do the stages of self-study within the context of a group or cohort. I think I had as many questions for them as they had for me! I wanted to know what kinds of supports they needed or wished they had as they went through this process. The answer kept coming back to assessment – my good friend!

Yes, I’m a self-proclaimed assessment geek. I don’t know when it happened, but it seems like I’ve always been endlessly curious about student learning and assessment practices that give us systematic ways of looking at student learning – what could be more interesting than that!

ACCESS is working to create resources about the assessment of student learning, especially with the idea that assessment offers us opportunities to make learning visible. Assessment practices also offer us a systematic way to reflect with each other on what we see, and how we might make changes based on the data we collect.

It is clear that Associate degree faculty are at different stages of development with this piece. Some folks are at the beginning of investigating the ECADA process and thinking about how they might want to apply. Others have made that decision and are in the midst of self-study. Others, myself included, are collecting data annually and working to make evidence-based decisions in order to improve student learning.

ACCESS is interested in developing resources that would be useful to all Associate degree faculty, regardless of where you at in the process.

It seems that we need resources that address the following:

1) rubric design

2) data collection – nuts and bolts

3) data analysis

4) reflection – making learning visible (this should probably be woven through each stage)

5) collaboration – working together, use the data to make informed decisions in order to improve student learning

6) rubric review – are we measuring what we set out to measure? Are our assessment practices providing useful data?

In terms of assessment, what else would you like ACCESS to provide for you?

Please complete the simple poll below and feel free to send me an e-mail with detailed suggestions at

I look forward to hearing from you!




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