Tools for Self-Study of State Assessment Policies

Project Overview
State Self-Study Tools
State and Regional Policies
Assessment Policy Types and Models
Policy Development
Inventory of Instruments and Measurements
Data Collection and Analysis
Publications and Presentations


Below are tools that policymakers can use for conducting self studies of their state's assessment policy. It includes a self-study framework, a survey instrument, and case study guidelines and a protocol.

State Policy Self-Study

Policymakers and researchers can use the State Policy Self-Study Framework to examine state assessment policy and to make comparisons of the structures and designs.

State Higher Education Assessment Questionnaire -Administrator Survey

The State Higher Education Assessment Questionnaire (SHEAQ) is used to study the attitudes of SHEEO staff, higher education leaders, and state officials regarding assessment policies and practices, purposes and uses.

More information about the instrument, its development, and the findings from our research using it can be found on the SHEAQ Information page.


The Case Study Research Overview

More about our Purpose, Sampling, and Methodology
Obtain a copy of our Case Study Protocol
Get a primer of the State Study Protocol here
Read the Final State Policy Report



The Case Study Protocol

Based on the findings from the State Higher Education Administrator Questionnaire (SHEAQ) and a review of the literature associated with state involvement with assessment and higher education governance, we developed a protocol for the case studies.The protocol is presented in Appendix A.The protocol was designed to elicit both general and specific information from the policy experts in the states and regional accreditation associations regarding the development of their policy, criteria, and standards.The case study questions and the topics discussed during the site visits varied depending on the state or association political structures and circumstances.

There are five primary elements to the protocol, with related topics:

The origin of the assessment policy

Historical overview

External influences

Primary policy actors

Reasons for adoption

The codification of the assessment policy

Relevant gubernatorial or legislative action

Key provisions of the policy

Goals of the policy, including how they were defined

Institutional involvement

Budgeting, financial considerations, and effects

The implementation of the state assessment policy

Process for enactment

Supporters and opponents

Audience for policy

Political and organizational structures for support

Effects and observed changes

Effects on relations/communications between governing boards, governor/legislature, and institutions

Political will for continuation of policy

Effects on teaching and learning at institutions

The data and information systems used in policy implementation

Indicators and instruments

Process of decision regarding the indicators and instruments used

Databases and analyses

Reports and sharing of information among the policy actors

Observed effects

The evaluation of the assessment policy

Formal reflections on policy effectiveness

Measures for effectiveness

Evaluation results

Changes under consideration


The protocol was designed to capture the perspective of state government officials and legislators involved in the development, oversight, and evaluation of each state’s assessment policy.These questions were designed to elicit information about the following:

Their general level of knowledge about the state assessment policy
Their perspective regarding the role state assessment policy plays in the legislative process
The value of the assessment policy to the state, and
The future direction of state assessment policy.


On this page

Case study Research Overview

Case Study Research Primer


Other links

Case Study Research Purpose, Sampling, and Methodology

Complete Case Study Protocol

Final State Policy Report

© 2003, National Center for Postsecondary Improvement, headquartered at the
Stanford Institute for Higher Education Research