Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Higher Education


Leadership and Counselor Education

First Advisor

Lori A. Wolff

Second Advisor

Joe M. Blackbourn

Third Advisor

Douglas R. Davis

Relational Format



This dissertation considers in turn the role education plays in civil, democratic society; the role assessment plays in education; and the role theoretical constructs and cultural contexts play in assessment. Then, through literature review, document analysis, and interviews, the analysis investigates, identifies, and recommends grounded-theory-derived practices for improving qualitative assessment in higher education settings. The process of qualitative assessment is understood as being heuristic and continual, requiring re-examination and revision to maintain both its validity and reliability. To this end, rubrics are essential to efficiently and reliably assessing everything qualitative, whereas the realities of institutional culture and politics require adroit leadership from educators and administrators, drawing from manifest praxes in organizational theory, management theory, and political theory, to affect progressive change.



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