Education

Accountability Key, Groups Tell Colleges

By Alyson Klein — April 18, 2006 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

As a federal panel considers ways to bring more accountability to American higher education, the two major national groups representing public colleges and universities are urging their members to devise their own systems to measure student learning.

“Improving Student Learning in Higher Education Through Better Accountability and Assessment” is available from the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges.

The recommendations are outlined in separate reports put forth this month by the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, or NASULGC, which represents more than 200 large research universities, and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, or AASCU, whose membership includes more than 400 public higher education institutions. Both groups are based in Washington.

The reports come as the Commission on the Future of Higher Education, established by U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings last year, is pondering ways to increase accountability for colleges. The panel’s chairman, Charles Miller, has publicly suggested that colleges voluntarily test their students. (“U.S. Panel Weighs Accountability in Higher Education,” March 29, 2006)

Travis J. Reindl, the director of state policy analysis at AASCU, said that some in academe have considered similar accountability proposals in the past, but that the federal panel’s work “is a nudge or a prod to keep moving in that direction.”

He said an accountability system could include a combination of surveys of alumni and employer satisfaction, data reported by students about their courses and interaction with faculty members, and student testing.

“Value-Added Assessment: Accountability’s New Frontier” is posted by the Association of State Colleges and Universities.

Both Mr. Reindl and M. Peter McPherson, the president of NASULGC, rejected the idea of federally mandated standardized tests. NASULGC also makes that point clear in its report. Mr. McPherson said any accountability system should “remain flexible, as a government regulation would not be likely to.” Federal policymakers would probably not craft a system that recognizes the stark differences between colleges of different sizes and missions, he added.

Mr. Reindl said that increased accountability could be a tough sell for colleges, which have “been very leery of assessing student learning. … We’ve got to get over our queasiness about this,” he said.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Law & Courts Webinar
Future of the First Amendment:Exploring Trends in High School Students’ Views of Free Speech
Learn how educators are navigating student free speech issues and addressing controversial topics like gender and race in the classroom.
Content provided by The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Start Strong With Solid SEL Implementation: Success Strategies for the New School Year
Join Satchel Pulse to learn why implementing a solid SEL program at the beginning of the year will deliver maximum impact to your students.
Content provided by Satchel Pulse
Jobs Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: June 8, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: June 1, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: May 11, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: April 27, 2022
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read