Assessing and Accounting for Student Learning: Beyond the Spellings Commission: New Directions for Institutional Research, Assessment Supplement 2007
January 2009, Jossey-Bass
Chapter topics include:
- Assessment and Accountability in America Today: Background and Context
- Measurement Validity and Accountability for Student Learning
- The Voluntary System of Accountability for Accountability and Institutional Assessment
- The Texas Experience with Accountability and Student Learning Assessment
- VALUE: Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education
- Rising to the Challenge: Developing a Survey of Workplace Skills, Civic Engagement, and Global Awareness
- Sharing Responsibility for Student Learning
Everyone in this growing group of administrators, faculty, and staff is constantly pursuing two goals: improving programs through the development of internal assessment tools, and answering external demands to account for the quality of student learning and related aspects of institutional functioning. The chapter authors, all leading researchers, provide a historical and conceptual perspective on assessment in higher education and examine some of the tools being developed to make institutional assessment meaningful and useful.
This is the first volume in a series of annual supplements in the of the Jossey-Bass quarterly report series New Directions for Institutional Research. Always timely and comprehensive, New Directions for Institutional Research provides planners and administrators in all types of academic institutions with guidelines in such areas as resource coordination, information analysis, program evaluation, and institutional management.
EDITORS’ NOTES (Victor M. H. Borden and Gary R. Pike).
1. Assessment and Accountability in America Today: Background and Context (Peter T. Ewell)
The Spellings Commission on the Future of Higher Education is the latest in an episodic history of governmental involvement in student learning outcomes assessment. This chapter examines the recent history of assessment development from institutional improvement and accountability perspectives and offers guidance as to how all parties can contribute to a productive future.
2. Measurement Validity and Accountability for Student Learning (Victor M. H. Borden, John W. Young)
Test producers expend considerable resources establishing the validity of their assessment instruments. However, new questions regarding validity arise when those instruments are used to represent institutional effectiveness.
3. The Voluntary System of Accountability for Accountability and Institutional Assessment (Christine M. Keller, John M. Hammang)
This chapter describes the rationale for and development of the Voluntary System of Accountability as a mechanism for public higher education to become more accountable for student learning anddevelopment.
4. The Texas Experience with Accountability and Student Learning Assessment (Pedro Reyes, Roberta Rincon)
The University of Texas has been at the forefront of using standardized measures of student learning as part of a comprehensive public accountability system. The lessons it has learned provide insights for institutions that are now following suit.
5. VALUE: Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education (Terrel L. Rhodes)
The Association of American Colleges and Universities is leading an effort to define essential learning outcomes and develop shared expectations for student performance as demonstrated through work as presented in electronic portfolios. This promises a more comprehensive and authentic framework for establishing and accounting for the quality of undergraduate learning.
6. Rising to the Challenge: Developing a Survey of Workplace Skills, Civic Engagement, and Global Awareness (Judith A. Ouimet, Gary R. Pike)
The skills that business and political leaders seek from college graduates, such as leadership, teamwork, citizenship, and global awareness, are not part of the traditional domain of learning assessments. This chapter describes a survey being developed to assess such skills as part of a broader validation project.
7. Sharing Responsibility for Student Learning (Victor M. H. Borden, Gary R. Pike)
This final chapter integrates the experience and guidance of the chapters of this volume into a road map for moving ahead collaboratively and constructively, with due diligence to the significant road hazards. The chapter also highlights the pivotal role of institutional research and institutional researchers in this venture.
GARY R. PIKE is executive director of information management and institutional research and associate professor of higher education and student affairs at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.
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