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Assessment, Accountability, and Improvement: Revisiting the Tension - Many of the tensions that characterized the accountability and improvement purposes of student learning outcomes assessment when the assessment movement began in the mid-1980s still exist today. The author outlines the major relevant changes affecting the assessment movement that have occurred in higher education over the past two decades. (Peter Ewell, National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment, November 2009)...

Changes in Postsecondary Awards Below the Bachelor's Degree: 1997 to 2007 - This Statistics in Brief presents changes in sub-baccalaureate awards in the decade between 1997 and 2007,using 2002 as a midpoint. It describes changes in the number and types of awards conferred. The report also examines changes in the types of institutions conferring the awards and differences in awards by gender and race/ethnicity. These results can serve as a baseline against which to measure future changes. (Laura Horn and Xiaojie Li, Thomas Weko, National Center for Education Statistics, November 2009)...

Ready to Assemble: Grading State Higher Education Accountability Systems - In 2008 and 2009, Education Sector conducted a comprehensive analysis of higher education accountability systems, analyzed thousands of documents, policies and laws to answer two question: 1) What information do states collect on their higher education institutions? 2) How do they use that information to affect institutional improvement. Based on the research they graded accountability systems in 21 categories on a three-level scale. (Chad Aldeman and Kevin Carey, Education Sector, June 2009)...

Learning Accountability from Bologna: A Higher Education Policy Primer - This study explores the core features of change in Europe that have been created jointly by higher education administrators, faculty, students, and national ministries of education. (Clifford Adelman, Institute for Higher Education Policy, July 2008)...

New Leadership for Student Learning and Accountability: A Statement of Principles, Commitments to Action - The primary responsibility for achieving excellence falls on colleges and universities themselves. To that end each should: develop ambitious, specific and clearly stated goals for student learning; gather evidence about how well students in various programs are achieving; and provide information about its basic characteristics, clearly communicate its educational mission and describe its strategies for achiving its educational goals and their effectiveness. (Association of American Colleges and Universties, Council for Higher Education Accreditation, 2008)...

College and University Ranking Systems: Global Perspectives and American Challenges - Ranking systems for colleges and universities are widely used but debates have emerged over the methodology that is used to construct them. In this report the Institute for Higher Education Policy has put together three papers that analyze ranking systems around the world and the lessons that those systems could provide to the United States. (Institute for Higher Education Policy, 2007)...

College Rankings Reformed: The Case for a New Order in Higher Education - U.S. News and World Report's annual ranking of colleges and universities has become the de facto higher education accountability system in the United States, despite its deeply flawed ranking system. Instead of ranking institutions on how well they educate their students and how well they prepare them to be successful after college education their students, it ranks them based on three factors: fame, wealth and exclusivity. The author argues that new data and technology offer an opportunity to really measure how well colleges and universities are preparing their undergraduate students. (Kevin Carey, Education Sector, September 2006) ...

A Culture of Evidence: Postsecondary Assessment and Learning Outcomes - This paper argues that postsecondary education today is not driven by hard evidence of its effectiveness, limiting our current state of knowledge about the effectiveness of a college education. This in turn hampers informed decisionmaking by institutions, students and their families and the future employers of college graduates. What is needed is a systemic, data-driven, comprehensive approach to understanding the quality of two-year and four-year postsecondary education, with direct, valid and reliable measures of student learning. The authors propose a comprehensive national system for determining the nature and extent of college learning, focusing on four dimensions of student learning: (1) workplace readiness and general skills; (2) domain-specific knowledge and skills; (3) soft skills, such as teamwork, communication and creativity and (4) student engagement with learning. (Carol A. Dwyer, Catherine M. Millett and David G. Payne, ETS, June 2006) ...

The Need for Accreditation Reform - This paper argues that accreditation of higher education in the United States is a crazy-quilt of activities, processes and structures that is fragmented, arcane, more historical than logical and has outlived its usefulness. Most important, it is not meeting the expectations required for the future. This paper distinguishes between the institutional purposes and the public purposes of accreditation, and suggests an alternative to the status quo. (Robert C. Dickeson, U.S. Department of Education, 2006)...

Holding Colleges and Universities Accountable for Meeting State Needs - This report examines states' annual reports for higher education accountability and recommends that states develop public agendas for higher education. It also describes states' progress on key indicators: higher education graduation rates, faculty salaries and science and research funding. (Alicia A. Diaz, Joan Lord and Joseph L. Marks, Southern Regional Education Board, 2006) ...

Focus on the Customer: A New Approach to State-Level Accountability Reporting and Processes for Higher Education - One of two companion pieces to a SHEEO (State Higher Education Executive Officers) survey on performance measures, this paper reports on the current status of accountability policies in the states and discusses state responses to higher education's new "customers" students, employers and legislators. The report provides recommendations on how state boards can manage in this new environment and what their new role is. Available in print from SHEEO for $12. (Sandra S. Ruppert, Educational Systems Research, SHEEO, July 1998)...

Performance Funding for Public Higher Education: Fad or Trend? - This book examines the conflicts and issues raised by performance funding, as well as the similarities and differences in state programs, based on data gathered and lessons learned from a national study of performance funding supported by The Pew Charitable Trusts. The appendices include a performance funding opinion and attitude survey and a hypothetical performance funding plan. Available from Jossey-Bass for $27. (Joseph C. Burke and Andreea M. Serban, editors, New Directions for Institutional Research, Number 97, Spring 1998, Jossey-Bass Publishers)....

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