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Building a Comprehensive Student Competency Assessment at Florida International University

Student Leadership Programs
October 8, 2015 Sabrena O’Keefe Florida International University

Assessment is a focus for institutions because it is a way to show the impact programs are having on students, but people outside the department doing the assessment are not always able to understand or relate to the results of that assessment.  At the Center for Leadership and Service (CLS), we have developed and began to assess a set of student leadership competencies applicable to more than our department to help address this issue.

The eight FIU CLS Student Leadership Competencies being assessed were created through the research conducted by Corey Seemiller involving 98 academic accrediting agencies.  The research created a “common language of leadership” for student and academic affairs.  After using a mission-based process to create eight competencies based on the original 60 competencies, pre and post assessments were created to begin to capture impact of programs on those competencies.

The 30 question behavior-based self-assessments are administered at the beginning and end of a program.  It is administered either in person on a scantron sheet or online through a Qualtrics form.  Student IDs are collected on the assessments so the pre and post results can be analyzed by student.  The pre assessment results can also be utilized for the program administrator to focus the program content if students are low on certain competencies the program is designed to address.  The results of comparing the pre and post assessments will allow our office to communicate what programs help students best develop certain competencies.

Since we are using the common language of leadership, we soon realized that our competencies are applicable not only to our office, but also to all of Student and Academic Affairs.  We have begun reaching out to both Student and Academic Affairs departments to inform them of the competencies as a resource and encourage them to use the pre and post assessments in their units.  The more data we collect from various campus partners, the better we can direct students to different programs that interest them, since we are all working at accomplishing the same goal:  helping students develop the skills required by the workforce and society.

More information about Corey Seemiller’s research can be found at studentleadershipcompetencies.com and the FIU CLS Student Leadership Competencies at leadserve.fiu.edu.