Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Education and Human Services


Curriculum & Instruction/Literacy Studies

Committee Chair

Elizabeth Jones.


This study explored the relationship between the degree to which top administrators of four-year colleges and universities that have been effective in implementing and sustaining assessment view the use of assessment and seven components of institutional sensemaking at their institutions. The underlying premise is that outcomes assessment practices represent a transformational change in higher education, and institutional sensemaking has been identified as a central feature of institutional transformation efforts. Understanding how assessment results and institutional sensemaking are intertwined should be useful for professionals charged with designing or implementing assessment plans, because it may lead to new ways to connect assessment with institutional decision-making and planning.;Surveys were completed by 311 top academic and student affairs administrators at 66 four-year institutions of higher education in the United States that were identified as having mature cultures of institutional assessment. Strong relationships were found between perceived use of assessment at those institutions and six aspects of sensemaking: Identity type, identity commitment, strategic orientation, present image, information processing structure, and issue interpretation. These findings suggest the importance of intentionally linking assessment planning with sensemaking activities.