Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Center for the Advancement of Education


Excellence and quality are subjects of much debate in higher education. Over eighty percent of all colleges and universities conduct regular evaluations of their programs to assess their quality, relevance and cost effectiveness. The visibility of program review and educational assessment is manifested in the intensity of state policy activity with some 700 state statutes affecting some aspect of the teaching progression being enacted between 1984 and 1986. Since 1985 calls for explicit assessment of the results of higher education have become increasing; insistent from state authorities. In New York, the State University of New York (SUNY) and the Sate Education Department have stressed that academic assessment must move forward in the state. The assessment approach to be taken her been left to the individual postsecondary institution in the state. Community colleges have a strong tradition of placing primary emphasis on students and student success. The state, however, wants more precise and systematic data on the desired outcomes of students’ educational experiences. Information on whether or not the desired outcomes were fulfilled, how the fulfillment was evaluated, and at what stages during the students program were requested. At Westchester Community College, the state mandate to assess all curricula is being undertaker. The Retail Business Management curriculum, from which the first students graduated in 1980 has not undergone a complete evaluation since its inception in the college in 1981. The State Education Department every ten years requires all colleges to evaluate and report on the success of individual curricula leading to degrees for "registration" in the state. The questions of how to approach assessment and the "re-registration" of this curricula as well as what to assess, when to assess, and how to assess an evaluation and program review of this major course of study became a paramount concern. To do this project, a "comparison model" was developed. Two initial steps in this were the completion of a comprehensive review of the literature on assessment and an identification of individuals who have demonstrated leadership and effective evaluation processes, strategies and identified: In addition, all fifty states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia were screened for state mandated policies or practices. The latter were used to ascertain the extent that these practices conformed to or conflicted with the New York State assessment mandate, as set forth by both the State Education Department and the State University of New York, of which Westchester Community College is an affiliated unit. In reviewing state-mandated program reviews currently in place or those in the early stages of implementation, common dimension were found. Reviews individually designed to meet specific needs and purposes it was found had the responsibility for the assessment resting with faculty directly involved with the assessed program. Reviews were found to be developed in concert with the college's mission and goals and had a variety of methods in which to evaluate the "value-added" component that students as the result of attending a given program in a given college receive. In some states this "value-added" component is tied to state funding. The review of the Retail Business Management curriculum following the New York State mandate using the "state of the art" procedures and the writing of the "experts" identified in the field of assessment revealed that many of the criteria of review were present that were found in other state mandates. Among these were faculty directed, consistent with college's mission, designed to meet specific needs and campus-based. Differences as well were found. Among these were a lack of state funding for assessment activities, allocation of state funding tied to assessment results, standardized required testing at various student attainment levels. As a result, the review of this curriculum in light of the New York State mandate was found to be consistent with the mission statement of Westchester Community College in serving its various publics. It is recommended that the results of this study be used at Westchester Community College and at other State University of New York campuses as the basis for further investigation end analysis of student performance and expectations. Additionally, the results will serve as a basis for comparison and analysis at other community colleges that are in the beginning stages of state mandated assessment activity.

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