Tools Tip: A Collaborative Assessment

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Earlier articles have discussed the collaborative assessment that should be the foundation of a Unit Service Plan. In the past, unit leaders and unit commissioners have been encouraged to complete independent assessments of unit strengths and needs. By working together, they can be more effective and efficient in developing a plan that will help improve unit program quality and better serve more youth.

What’s the process for developing a collaborative assessment?

  1. Discuss developing a collaborative assessment and a Unit Service Plan with unit leaders in advance. Without their support, chances of success are limited.
  2. Agree on a meeting date to complete the assessment and advise unit leaders that they will receive an email with a link to an electronic form that will help them capture their thoughts in advance.
  3. Create a Unit Contact in Commissioner Tools for the date of the assessment meeting. Select “Other” for the type of contact and enter “Unit Service Plan” in the available free-format field that appears.
  4. Commissioner Tools will automatically enable the Detailed Assessment function for a unit contact with a future date and enable selection of the unit Key 3 to whom the unit assessment form will be sent. Also, any number of additional email addresses can optionally be added in the “Copy To:” line separated by a semicolon. The “Copy To:” line is helpful in situations where a new individual is about to become a member of the Key 3, or if a person has a new or alternate email address. You DO NOT need to add yourself to the “Copy To:” line, as the system will send you a copy of the invitational email as a blind copy.
  5. Unit leaders will receive a customized email containing a link that will take them directly to the Detailed Assessment in Commissioner Tools and enable them to enter their input. Once the unit leader has completed his or her input, “unit completed” is displayed on the button when you go into the scheduled contact.
  6. Finalize the collaborative assessment during the scheduled meeting with unit leaders and enter the results in the Detailed Assessment in Commissioner Tools. Should there be too much material to cover in a single scheduled meeting, you can save what you have completed of the Detailed Assessment, and optionally change the date of the meeting to allow you to continue working with the unit leaders on another date. Remember, after you “complete” the collaborative assessment, you have an additional 48 hours to make any edits should they be needed.

The completed collaborative assessment is the starting point for the Unit Service Plan, which should include a limited number of SMART goals that over the next six months will address the most significant unit needs identified. The goals can be entered in the Detailed Assessment where they will remain available for review.

CAUTION: Remember, just like the old paper Commissioner Unit Assessments, you DO NOT want to forward your completed commissioner Detailed Contact to the unit. Providing the unit a copy of the commissioner’s completed assessment establishes a bad precedent, could inhibit the commissioner from adding frank information that could be viewed negatively by the unit, and might create tension between the commissioner and the unit.

Advance communication with unit leaders: It’s the key to a successful collaborative assessment.