The Equity Scorecard: An Effective Tool for Assessing Diversity Initiatives

By Abbie Robinson-Armstrong, Derenda King, David Killoran and Matthew X Fissinger.

Published by The Diversity Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Effective assessment systems generate information that can help institutions adapt to changing conditions while they maintain stability and identity. Effective assessment also helps faculty and staff gain an understanding of how the college experience impacts students (Jacobi, Astin & Ayala, 1987). Effective assessment provides well-defined outcomes for curricular and co-curricular activities and programs. These programs “add direction and impetus to ‘unfreezing’ institutional culture in order to make changes in policy, method, and procedures to stimulate innovation which results in improvement” (Messina & Fagans, 1992, p. 2. Assessment can support strategic planning efforts by helping institutions define goals and objectives, by identifying critical issues that need attention, and by providing feedback about the effectiveness of long-range plans (Jacobi, Astin & Ayala, 1987). In this way, institutions can use assessment both to respond to external demands for accountability and as a proactive effort to provide a rational basis for decision-making in light of the uncertain future of higher education and the changing external environment. According to Messina and Fagans (1992), effective assessment (a) focuses on areas that need improvement, (b) requires faculty, staff, and student participation, and (c) includes multiple avenues for feedback. The Equity Scorecard is a tool that helps incorporate these criteria into the day-to-day activities within campus communities. The Equity Scorecard is grounded in theoretical and practical literature that critiques and moves beyond access and retention to measure the level of academic success (Astin & Oseguera, 2004; Bowen, Bok & Burkhart, 1999; Bok, 2003; Bowen and Bok, 1998; Jencks & Phillips, 1998). In the past, higher education leaders sought ways to change or influence at-risk students so they could succeed in institutions where the culture remained unchanged. In contrast, the Scorecard proposes that both students and institutions assume responsibility for educational outcomes. While there is extensive literature on what historically underrepresented students lack and how they can change to better meet the rigors of college, the Equity Scorecard focuses attention on institutional change. This assessment tool emphasizes the notion of the accountability side of diversity, which is the title of an article on the Scorecard written by Bensimon, Polkinghorne, and Bauman (2003). According to Bauman, Bustillos, Bensimon, Brown, and Bartee (2005), “…an institution takes inclusive excellence seriously if it (1) accepts the responsibility for producing equitable educational outcomes for students from historically disenfranchised groups, and (2) monitors the development of high achievement among historically underrepresented students” (p. 9). This tool provides the stimulus for the development of an institutional ethos that values a culture of evidence (Alstete, 1995; Lowman, 2002).

Keywords: Assessment, Diversity, Equity Scorecard, Higher Education, College and Universities

International Journal of Diversity in Organizations, Communities and Nations, Volume 8, Issue 6, pp.31-40. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 593.075KB).

Dr. Abbie Robinson-Armstrong

Vice President for Intercultural Affairs, Academic Affaris, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, USA

Dr. Abbie Robinson-Armstrong is Vice President for Intercultural Affairs at Loyola Marymount University where she is responsible for articulating vision and serving as a catalyst for the development, implementation, and assessment of diversity initiatives that support the mission and goals of the university. She collaborates with numerous internal and external constituencies to help the University realize its goals to achieve educational equity and infuse diversity across its academic and business processes. Abbie earned a Bachelor of Science at University of Indianapolis,a Master of Science at Indiana University, and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Higher Education at University of Toledo. She held faculty positions at Seneca College, Centennial College and Durham College. She authored numerous abstracts, papers, and book chapters. Her latest article, Creating Institutional Transformation Using the Equity Scorecard, was published in Diversity Digest. She delivers speeches, and workshops to audiences of various sizes throughout the world. Examples of her topics include: A Systematic Approach to Assessing Diversity Initiatives; Faculty Diversity, Organizational Climate; Strategic Partnership Analysis and Facilitation; Learning Outcomes and Accountability; and Creating Deep and Systemic Organizational Change. An internationally recognized specialist on the topic of diversity in higher education, Abbie provids consulting services to Colleges, Universities, Public and Private Schools, non-profit organizations, and government agencies. Her areas of expertise include Data Driven Strategic Planning; System-wide and Multiple Campus Reorganization; Program Review and Assessment, Professional Development; and Research and Evaluation. An example of her clients includ: California Post Secondary Education Commission, Cedarville College, Fairport Central School District, Indiana Department of Education, Indianapolis Public Schools, Ontario Ministry of Culture and Recreation, Ontario Public School Teachers’ Federation, Rochester Institute of Technology, Sinclair Community College, Syracuse University, St. John Fisher College, State University of New York at Buffalo, University of Rochester, and Trimmings Board of Education. Abbie's recognition for accomplishments include: the Award of Appreciation from Loyola Marymount University; Special Service Award from Culver City, CA Lions, Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring from the National Science Foundation, a commemorative Certificate from President William Jefferson Clinton and a $10,000 grant to continue mentoring activities, a President’s Award for Outstanding Volunteerism from Wright State University. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE).

Derenda King

Loyola Marymount University, USA

David Killoran

Professor and Department Chair, Loyola Marymount University, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, USA

Matthew X Fissinger

Loyola Marymount University, USA


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