Applying the PDCA Cycle to the Complex Task of Teaching and Assessing Public Relations Writing

John E. Knight, Sandra Allen


Teaching skills, knowledge and abilities appropriate for career-ready graduates and assessing learning are complex issues. Developing a valid and reliable approach is often by trial and error. Instead, the authors employed Deming’s PDCA Cycle of continuous improvement as a systematic procedure to incrementally move closer to their goal. This paper outlines a multiyear project where academics and public relations professionals collaborated to answer 4 questions: What are the basic SKAs for a career-ready graduate?; How to orient the pedagogy?; How to evaluate and assess student learning?; and, How to insure validity of the measurements?. The authors used a variety of qualitative and quantitative procedures to (a) gather knowledge and information from public relations professionals; (b) facilitate consensus on career-specific pedagogy; and (c) develop a repeatable and reliable rubric to measure students’ news release writing skills.

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International Journal of Higher Education
ISSN 1927-6044 (Print) ISSN 1927-6052 (Online) Email:

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