Implementing capstone assessment accountability practices in graduate programs: Implementation strategies
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The purpose of this study was to determine what strategies appeared most salient in the implementation of a locally developed comprehensive exam in a graduate program in higher education. Specifically, the researcher aimed to situate an understanding of the role of leaders in the adoption and implementation of this accountability measure. Limited information in literature specific to the implementation phase of a capstone assessment in graduate programs within higher education frames the need for this study's findings. This qualitative study examined implementers' experiences with the implementation processes of a locally developed comprehensive exam. Findings supported the study's argument that strategies identified as most salient within each of stage of implementation relate to establishing the purpose of the comprehensive exam, to fostering faculty empowerment, to promoting positive capacity beliefs, and to promoting positive context beliefs. Findings suggest that organizational leaders can foster conditions that promote optimal implementation of this accountability-related initiative by employing these strategies, which equips front line implementers to meet the challenges of change. These strategies ultimately have the potential to assist the institution's ability to effectively respond to accountability-related mandates, thereby assisting with efforts to demonstrate institutional effectiveness.