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PostsecondaryPostsecondary AccountabilityStudent LearningSelected Research & Readings (Additional Resources)
 
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Making the Numbers Add Up: A Guide for Using Data in College Access and Success Programs - State-by-state college attainment statistics that can serve as a call to action to make higher education more accessible and attainable for all Americans. (Lumina Foundation, December 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)...

Promoting Engagement for All Students: The Imperative to Look Within - Continuing its goal of helping schools determine how to do a better job of educating college students, the 2008 National Survey of Student Engagement reported that transfer students are underserved, nearly one in five college seniors and 25% of freshmen say they frequently come to class without completing the assigned reading, and online learners report deeper learning experiences than classroom-based learners. Some 380,000 students in 722 four-year institutions were surveyed; more differences were found within individual institutions than from one institution to another. (National Survey of Student Engagement, Indiana University Center for Postsecondary Research, 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 Learning for the New Global Century - While college enrollment is at an all-time high, an important consideration about college education has been ignored. Are students learning the skills they really need for use in the real world? Does getting a degree actually prepare the student for the challenges they will face? This report, with input from employers, colleges and universities, and other professional and educational experts makes recommendations to foster the aims and best practices of a twenty-first century education. (Liberal Education and America’s Promise, Association of American Colleges and Universities, January 2007)...

Engaged Learning: Fostering Success for All Students - This report examines National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) findings and general themes, national benchmarks, key engagement issues including compensatory effects of student engagement for certain groups of students and how schools and stakeholders are using NSSE results. (National Survey of Student Engagement, 2006) ...

The Literacy of America's College Students - This report finds that 20% of graduates of four-year programs and 30% of those earning two-year degrees lack the quantitative skills to do basic calculations. The report found that the mathematical skills of today's graduates are not any worse than those of previous generations, and that in other forms of literacy, today's graduates are doing better. (Justin D. Baer, Andrea L. Cook and Stephane Baldi, American Institutes for Research, January 2006)...

Two Columns on Postsecondary Accountability - Should College Students Be Tested to Hold Institutions Accountable for Student Learning? discusses the need for accountabiliy at the postsecondary level and how Academic Learning Compacts will make Florida college degrees more meaningful and comparable. Colleges are looking at new ways to assess student learning and institutional effectiveness discusses why an NCLB-like approach to postsecondary accountability is not appropriate, proposing instead the Collegiate Learning Assessment. (Steve Uhlfelder and Stephen Klein, Council for Aid to Education, 2006) ...

Measuring Up on College-Level Learning - States spend millions – sometimes billions – of dollars each year on higher education, but have previously been unable to demonstrate to residents and taxpayers the effectiveness of their investments. This report examines how states can meaningfully and affordably measure learning at their postsecondary institutions, both for accountability purposes and to identify collective policy challenges that all institutions in a state can help address. (Margaret A. Miller and Peter T. Ewell, The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, October 2005)...

1992-93 Bachelor's Degree Recipients and Their Opinions About Education in 2003 - In the 1992-93 academic year, the National Center for Education Statistics embarked on its first long-term study of bachelor's degree recipients. This report provides selected results on their opinions about education at the time of their 2003 interviews. Sections address their opinions on: (1) importance of undergraduate education, (2) undergraduate education and occupational training, (3) enrollment and completion of graduate education, and (4) satisfaction and importance of graduate education. The quality of undergraduate instruction remained very important in the lives of 61% of 1992-93 bachelor's degree recipients and 78% reported their undergraduate instruction as a whole was very important in preparing them for work and career. (Ellen M. Bradburn, Stephanie Nevill, Emily Forrest Cataldi and Kristin Perry, National Center for Education Statistics, July 2005)...

Liberal Education Outcomes: A Preliminary Report on Student Achievement in College - While there is consensus among policymakers and educators about what students should know when they leave college, there is limited information on exactly what students are comming away from college with. This report examines what data does exist and finds that many students graduate with weaknesses in the areas of critical thinking, quantitative literacy, ethical reasoning and civic engagement. The report calls on postsecondary education to go beyond standardized assessments and develop multiple measures of student learning and achievement. (American Association of Colleges and Universities, 2005)...

Constructing Indicators: A Proposal for Discussion - This proposal from Measuring Up 2002: The State-By-State Report Card for Higher Education lays out a preliminary set of indicators to measure student learning, based on the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education’s work with the state of Kentucky. Indicators include abilities of college-educated residents, institutional contributions to educational capital, quality of educational outcomes and good practices in undergraduate education. Policymakers should find this template useful for measuring postsecondary outcomes in their states. (National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, 2003) ...

Grading Student Learning: You Have To Start Somewhere - In this essay, the author argues that while the task of measuring college-level learning may be daunting, states have to start somewhere. Ewell notes the importance of “educational capital” – the skills and knowledge of the population – to the nation’s political and economic life and raises key policy questions about student learning and outcomes at the postsecondary level. He also provides possible models for measuring college-level learning in the future. (Peter T. Ewell, National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, 2003) ...

Measuring Up and Student Learning - This essay describes some state and national efforts to measure student learning at the postsecondary level. While acknowledging that few states know very much about the learning of their college graduates, the author points to the work of numerous national organizations and preliminary state-level activity to illustrate the growing importance states are placing on measuring student learning. (Margaret Miller, National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, 2003) ...

Measuring Up on College-Level Learning - In this paper the author asks key policy questions regarding postsecondary learning and offers possible solutions for states interested in measuring student outcomes. By determining exactly who and what should be measured, and determining how those results should be used to shape public policy, states can develop strategies to figure out exactly what students – and the state – get out of postsecondary education. (Margaret A. Miller, National Forum on College-Level Learning, 2001)...


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