Date of Award
Doctor of Education (EdD)
Department of Educational Administration and Foundations: Educational Administration
James C. Palmer
Learning assistance centers exist in varied formats at many colleges and provide services to support the educational mission such as tutoring, support for special needs students, study skills instruction, writing or math instruction. This study seeks to add to the small body of research on evaluation measures used within learning assistance centers and the program evaluation practices of such centers by determining the prevalence of program evaluation and what measures learning assistance directors perceive they should be using in the evaluation of their program compared to those actually being used?
Learning assistance center directors at 61 public two-year institutions, out of a nationwide sample of 226, responded to a survey and 43 of those respondents indicated program evaluation had taken place within their center. Those 43 rated their level of agreement, in terms of current practice and whether they thought it should be the current practice, with a number of statements pertaining to program evaluation within their centers and to the use of various evaluation measures.
A descriptive analysis of the structures and range of services offered by learning assistance centers was performed as well as a descriptive analysis of the conditions and practices for program evaluation and of the potential evaluation measures. Descriptive
statistics are presented for each item and t-test comparisons of the composite group means were performed to compare the current state of evaluation to the state desired by the learning assistance directors.
It was found that 70.5% of the respondents indicated they had engaged in program evaluation within the last two years. These evaluations often include multiple measures and the directors believe the measures are appropriate. The evaluation plans in use also seem to be based on many of the "best practices" of program evaluation found in the literature. One area of discord was the inclusion of students in evaluation planning as it did not happen as frequently as the directors desired. Although alignment between the evaluation and the center's mission was rated high by most, the responses suggest that an "unspoken" mission of assisting at-risk students may require further consideration in the current practice.
Franklin, Doug, "An Analysis of Program Evaluation in Community College Learning Assistance Centers" (2014). Theses and Dissertations. 197.