Improving Quality in American Higher Education: Learning Outcomes and Assessments for the 21st Century
May 2016, Jossey-Bass
Improving Quality in American Higher Education outlines the fundamental concepts and competencies society demands from today's college graduates, and provides a vision of the future for students, faculty, and administrators. Based on a national, multidisciplinary effort to define and measure learning outcomes—the Measuring College Learning project—this book identifies 'essential concepts and competencies' for six disciplines. These essential concepts and competencies represent efforts towards articulating a consensus among faculty in biology, business, communication, economics, history, and sociology—disciplines that account for nearly 40 percent of undergraduate majors in the United States. Contributions from thought leaders in higher education, including Ira Katznelson, George Kuh, and Carol Geary Schneider, offer expert perspectives and persuasive arguments for the need for greater clarity, intentionality, and quality in U.S. higher education.
College faculty are our best resource for improving the quality of undergraduate education. This book offers a path forward based on faculty perspectives nationwide:
- Clarify program structure and aims
- Articulate high-quality learning goals
- Rigorously measure student progress
- Prioritize higher order competencies and disciplinarily grounded conceptual understandings
A culmination of over two years of efforts by faculty and association leaders from six disciplines, this book distills the national conversation into a delineated set of fundamental ideas and practices, and advocates for the development and use of rigorous assessment tools that are valued by faculty, students, and society. Improving Quality in American Higher Education brings faculty voices to the fore of the conversation and offers an insightful look at the state of higher education, and a realistic strategy for better serving our students.
About the Editors
About the Contributors
Chapter 1 Defining and Assessing Learning in Higher Education
Josipa Roksa, Richard Arum, and Amanda Cook
Chapter 2 Measuring College Learning in History
Lendol Calder and Tracy Steffes
Chapter 3 Measuring College Learning in Economics
Sam Allgood and Amanda Bayer
Chapter 4 Measuring College Learning in Sociology
Susan J. Ferguson and William Carbonaro
Chapter 5 Measuring College Learning in Communication
Nancy Kidd, Trevor Parry-Giles, Steven A. Beebe, and W. Bradford Mello
Chapter 6 Measuring College Learning in Biology
Clarissa Dirks and Jennifer K. Knight
Chapter 7 Measuring College Learning in Business
Jeffrey Nesteruk and Sara Beckman
Chapter 8 A Set of Further Reflections on Improving Teaching, Learning, and Assessment
Peter Ewell, Natasha Jankowski, George Kuh, Carol Geary Schneider, Charles Blaich, and Kathleen Wise
RICHARD ARUM is professor of sociology and education at New York University and director of the Social Science Research Council's Education Research Program. A leading voice in the national dialogue around learning in higher education, he has authored or coauthored numerous books, including Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses (University of Chicago Press, 2011) and Aspiring Adults Adrift (University of Chicago Press, 2014).
JOSIPA ROKSA is associate professor of sociology and education at the University of Virginia. Roksa is known for her extensive research on inequality in higher education and is coauthor of Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses (University of Chicago Press, 2011) and Aspiring Adults Adrift (University of Chicago Press, 2014).
AMANDA COOK is program manager for Academic Leadership and Change at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities in Washington, DC. Previously, she served as project manager for the Social Science Research Council's Measuring College Learning project, on which this book is based.