Artifacts of Expansive Learning in Designing a Web-Based Performance Assessment System: Institutional Effects of the Emergent Evaluative State of Educational Leadership Preparation in the United States

Hanne Mawhinney (University of Maryland College Park, USA)
Copyright: © 2010 |Pages: 251
EISBN13: 9781609602673|DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-909-5.ch012
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Recent evidence of the adoption of technologically mediated systems of knowledge management as part of the trend to accountability in the Institutions of Higher Education around the world has been widely disseminated in World Bank and UNESCO reports, and the effects of assessment driven accountability on preparation programs extensively debated in scholarly communities. Less scholarly attention has been paid to the institutional effects of the technology enhanced performance assessment evidentiary demands on university programs undergoing review by national accrediting bodies. The lack of scholarly attention is addressed by presenting a case study examining the institutional dynamics of accreditation review experienced by faculty in one department that offered graduate programs leading to certification for education leaders. Drawing from institutional analysis (Scott, 2008a, 2008b) a conceptual framework is established in a discussion of conditions of enactment of the regulative, normative and cognitive facets of the institutional dynamics evident in the implementation ecology of accountability systems. The case study analysis outlines four phases of development of the essential elements of a web-based assessment system, and describes the questions raised by faculty about performance evidence, the assessment of that evidence, and the nature of measures of program outcome effectiveness. Classic theories of organizations fail to fully explain the concerns and questions that were raised by faculty. In contrast, Engeström’s (1999, 2001, 2008) theory of expansive learning grounded in Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) provides insights into faculty responses to questions raised by the criteria for program review established by the accrediting body. Artifacts of expansive learning evident in the development of a performance assessment system can be viewed as reflecting institutionalization of regulative, normative, and cognitive dimensions of the emergent evaluative state of leadership preparation around the world. Implications are suggested for understanding the development of information technology (IT) enhanced knowledge management systems (KMS).
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