About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 956-962
Publication year: 2017
ISBN: 978-84-617-8491-2
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2017.0038

Conference name: 11th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 6-8 March, 2017
Location: Valencia, Spain

INTERNSHIP ASSESSMENT IN THE ACCREDITATION PROCESS FOR PROFESSIONAL DESIGN EDUCATION

D. Bender

Arizona State University (UNITED STATES)
One of the necessary activities in higher education professional accreditation is also one of the most challenging: how to assess the curriculum in a significant manner. This paper describes the assessment of an undergraduate internship experience as an indirect measurement of student learning for program accreditation in an interior design degree program. Accreditation is one way to hold a program of higher education accountable for its student learning. This is done by “demonstrating that the program/institution meets at least a minimum quality threshold” (Brink & Smith, 2012, p. 1).

One way to link educational curriculum to a professional discipline is achieved with an internship. Research suggests students, employers and universities all benefit from internships (Knouse & Fontenot, 2008; Rigsby, Addy, Herring & Polledo, 2013). Students who have an internship can get exposure to professional practice, development of technical skills, expansion of social and professional networks, and resume building (Westerberg & Wickersham, 2011). Task assessment in the workplace is not a direct measurement of learning, but an indirect means to ascertain student learning. Yorke and Vidovich (2014) define this as “somewhat messy” (p. 234), in that workplace learning standards are difficult to define and apply consistently across diverse environments.

The current study was conducted within the context of an interior design undergraduate program in the southwest United States. As a profession, interior design has moved towards outcome-based assessment and accreditation with substantial skills-based elements. Interior design is a form of targeted, professional training. Therefore, it is anticipated that its curriculum will be in harmony with its professional discipline. When assessing the interior design internship as a source of student learning, particular emphasis was given to several professional accreditation standards selected by the program faculty. These were determined by careful analysis of the scope, duration and structure of the internship experience during the faculty’s program self-study process.

To adequately assess student learning and provide viable evidence for program accreditation, feedback on intern performance was provided by host firms external to the university who served as intern supervisors. Feedback from 122 supervisors from five years of internships were analyzed to ensure students satisfactorily completed their internships and met professional accreditation standards. Results show an overall positive evaluation of intern performance. A content analysis of 111 supervisor comments provide a wealth of information, that include, but are not limited to, a listing of tasks performed, advice for improvement, skills that are missing, and an overall assessment of intern performance.

Feedback from this study was used by an accredited interior design program as a means for program assessment during a recent accreditation visit. Future areas for research and the importance of assessing internship programs on an ongoing basis will be discussed. Also described are the challenges in developing a new assessment instrument shared by multiple program degree stakeholders.
@InProceedings{BENDER2017INT,
author = {Bender, D.},
title = {INTERNSHIP ASSESSMENT IN THE ACCREDITATION PROCESS FOR PROFESSIONAL DESIGN EDUCATION},
series = {11th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2017 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-617-8491-2},
issn = {2340-1079},
doi = {10.21125/inted.2017.0038},
url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.21125/inted.2017.0038},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {6-8 March, 2017},
year = {2017},
pages = {956-962}}
TY - CONF
AU - D. Bender
TI - INTERNSHIP ASSESSMENT IN THE ACCREDITATION PROCESS FOR PROFESSIONAL DESIGN EDUCATION
SN - 978-84-617-8491-2/2340-1079
DO - 10.21125/inted.2017.0038
PY - 2017
Y1 - 6-8 March, 2017
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 11th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2017 Proceedings
SP - 956
EP - 962
ER -
D. Bender (2017) INTERNSHIP ASSESSMENT IN THE ACCREDITATION PROCESS FOR PROFESSIONAL DESIGN EDUCATION, INTED2017 Proceedings, pp. 956-962.
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