Can performance measurement improve teaching -learning effectiveness? Understanding the perspectives of community college faculty

Carol Luttrell Hawkins, University of Pennsylvania


Florida community colleges over the past decade have experienced increased calls to demonstrate accountability for return-on-investment of public funds. Colleges must meet these external expectations primarily through the efforts of autonomous professionals, the faculty. Understanding the subjective attitudes, beliefs and preferences of community college faculty—within the context of statewide performance measurement systems—is vital for leadership charged with achieving improvement expectations of external entities on which the college depends for resources. Communicating the faculty perspective could also inform state policy development. College credit faculty in both the general education and vocational divisions of three Florida community colleges were interviewed, and relevant State of Florida documents were analyzed. With respect to attitudes and beliefs toward performance measurement systems, faculty both value academic freedom and appreciate the need for accountability, and find it difficult to balance these two sometimes competing principles; distrust current performance measurement systems in education; and find most data and information presented to them to be useless for developing improvement strategies. With respect to data that would help them improve their teaching and student learning, faculty want outcomes to be measured in the student satisfaction and student educational, career, and personal development domains, as well as community economic and civic development. Faculty want data that is specific to their sphere of influence and therefore actionable; want short-term and long-term tracking of students they taught; want more qualitative studies to enrich objective data; want all constituents they are concerned about satisfying to provide input to assessment; and want assessment data to be used for purposes of quality improvement only. With respect to the gap between faculty preferences and State of Florida measures, with the exception of the purposes for which measures should be used, community college faculty preferences align conceptually with State of Florida measures but differ significantly in the operational details. A model for linking the state's measurement-for-accountability perspective and faculty's measurement-for-improvement perspective, and recommendations for achieving operational synergy between the two, are proposed.

Subject Area

Higher education|Community colleges

Recommended Citation

Hawkins, Carol Luttrell, "Can performance measurement improve teaching -learning effectiveness? Understanding the perspectives of community college faculty" (2003). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3093980.