BFA Self-Assessment FAQ
- When filling out the self-assessment instrument in BFA, who should be on our institution’s core team?
- Should our institution’s core team complete the self-assessment instrument individually or as a group?
- How long does the self-assessment take to complete?
- What should we consider as we decide whether a practice is an “A”, “B”, or “C”?
- What if my institution scores mostly “B”s and “C”s?
- Which of the six strategies should our institution pursue first?
When filling out the self-assessment instrument in BFA, who should be on our institution’s core team?
Your institution’s core team might include the administrators and practitioners at your institution who oversee academic affairs and/or instruction, student development and/or services, financial aid, admissions, enrollment, and institutional research and planning. It may make sense to weave the self-assessment instrument into the efforts of an existing campus committee (e.g., Student Success Committee, Equity Committee, Institutional Effectiveness Committee) that has a standing commitment to success for all students and already has this make-up of individuals.
Should our institution’s core team complete the self-assessment instrument individually or as a group?
We recommend that your core team take the self-assessment as a group, which can lead to a cross sharing of the efforts already present on campus as well as a more rapid interpretation of results. At the same time, we recognize that collectively interacting with the tool may be unrealistic, given time and scheduling constraints. Other options include designating a sub-group or a leader to take the self-assessment who then presents the results to a core team or having all members of the core team independently complete the self-assessment and convene to discuss their individual results. Regardless of how the self-assessment is completed among the team members, we strongly recommend that the interpretation and discussion of the self-assessment results take place as a collaborative dialogue engaging a range of stakeholders from across the institution.
Depending on the level of conversation during the self-assessment and due to the in-depth review of your college activities, completing the self-assessment can take between 1 and 2 hours. The subsequent discussion can vary depending on how institutions choose to apply their results.
Each item in the self-assessment is rated on an A-B-C scale, where an “A” means that the task is accomplished on a regular basis, a “B” means that it is accomplished sometimes but not regularly, and a “C” means that the task is not accomplished. For some items, the rating will be very clear but in other cases, you might be on the cusp of an A/B or a B/C—in which case, you can review the both interpretations, see which components apply, and tailor your action plan accordingly.
Then, you are among the majority of institutions. Most institutions have some practices in play, which may or may not be integrated. This self-assessment is not designed to identify deficiencies. Rather, it offers an opportunity to identify where your college already has traction and determine existing activities that can be broadened and/or deepened as well as connected to one another. Also, many of the items in the self-assessment are good practices that have worked well for other colleges and may be worth considering at your institution.
While acting on Strategies 2-6 can be organized as your institution sees fit, we recommend pursuing Strategy 1 (Know the low-income students at your institution) first. This strategy can help you take stock of the experiences of low-income students at your particular institution, with your unique mix of values, resources, and opportunities. From there, you can determine which priorities to identify and which activities to pursue. Additionally, we recommend that those responsible for institutional research and planning be included in discussions, particularly for this strategy, as they can help develop a plan of action for regular data collection and analyses and share the impact from previous college efforts, where available.