It’s the end of the year. Whoop! You might be taking a well-deserved breather or already in the planning mode for next year. Either way, don’t forget to document what you did assessment-wise this past year. You probably will not be in your current job forever, and you might even win the lottery tomorrow and decide to quit your job. Are you setting up the next person for success? If you are here next year at this time, will you remember what you did and why you did it?
That’s where good documentation comes in. Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be really formal. You might jot down notes in a Word document about your program’s purpose, the planning timeline, any outcomes you developed, and how you assessed what you did. If you have some sort of assessment results (statistical output, qualitative comments, summary report, etc.) be sure to save those as well. Maybe most importantly, from an assessment standpoint, document what decisions were made and any subsequent actions taken. Be sure to put the documentation on a shared drive, so other people can access it if you are not around or in charge of that project any more. It can be frustrating to not be able to get the information you need.
You never know when someone will bring up an idea or a change. With the documentation, you know whether that was something that was tried before and/or whether the assessment results would lead to that change being successful. We are all busy people juggling multiple responsibilities, so having that documentation also helps you remember what you did and why you did it. That information can also be part of your assessment plan reporting for accountability purposes.
Don’t make documentation more work than it has to be. It should help you work smarter, not harder. You might think it’s not important or you don’t have time, but it is easier to jot a few notes rather than having to remember all of the details or burden someone else with having to figure it out.