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Assessment change in higher education: The impact of a hidden assessment culture
Assessment change
Higher education
Professional development
Institutional culture
Issue Date: 
Deneen, C. C. (2012, Sep). Assessment change in higher education: The impact of a hidden assessment culture. Paper presented at the 38th Annual Conference of the International Association of Educational Assessment (IAEA), 18 – 21 Sep 2012, Astana, Kazakhstan. Retrieved from
Change management in higher education is a complex and demanding process. This is especially true for initiating and managing change in assessment. Understanding assessment change in higher education is a developing field; only recently and to a limited extent has research begun taking into account dialogue among stakeholders and the change-relevant information such dialogues may reveal about institutional culture. This paper discusses findings from an institute-wide assessment change initiative. The initiative involved 35 instructors, 672 students and six developers. Data was collected initially from survey instruments, then later developer notes and relevant policy documents. Analysis was both qualitative and quantitative. Initial ANOVA was conducted both on an item and factor basis; leading to a focused qualitative analysis of materials generated in the context of developer and instructor activities. Initial findings included significant disparity between student and staff valuing of assessment change. Later findings included the emergence of levels of dialogue which in turn revealed different responses to assessment change, some overt, some covert. Findings and implications are contextualized in light of research on change management in higher education; implications for higher education institutions managing assessment change are discussed.
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