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Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Educational Administration and Leadership

First Advisor

Norena Badway

First Committee Member

Dennis Brennan

Second Committee Member

Lynn Beck

Third Committee Member

Penelope Swenson


The world of higher education has long held to the value of learning---of pondering, of embracing the search for the truth. Yet recent changes in the accreditation process have placed a new emphasis on the measurement of student learning as opposed to the assumption that learning takes place simply due to the placement and progression of a student in an institution of higher education. This Assessment Initiative has become a cause of concern for both faculty and administrators. This dissertation explored the perceptions of faculty and administrators in one system of higher education in particular, California Community Colleges. The unique needs of this system are presented and seminal works on the Assessment Initiative are discussed. This paper presents both qualitative and quantitative data from pre- and post professional development surveys to gather perceptions about the Assessment Initiative from California Community College chief instructional officers; Institutional Researchers; academic and student services administrators; and academic and occupational faculty. The researcher analyzed survey responses through the lens of Rogers' five attributes of innovation to identify attitudes and beliefs that are likely to impede implementation of a strong assessment and improvement cycle. Across practitioner groups, the pre-survey found that participants perceived the Assessment Initiative to have relative advantage to existing teaching and learning methods and be compatible with faculty concerns about student learning, but that accreditation requirements were complex and there was little observable data that changes would result in improved student learning. Post survey responses revealed that all constructs except one, observability, improved at a statistically significant rate after professional development. In addition a sixth perceptual concern was identified that did not parallel Rogers' attributes---a concern that the Assessment Initiative is a mandate from outside of the institution, not an idea from within. Conclusions call for continued professional development---although format should adapt to changing needs of community college personnel---as well as additional research into the impact of the Academic Senate on how local colleges adopt this new set of activities. Future research is suggested on the impact of the Assessment Initiative upon actual student learning as the implementation progresses.





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