Friday, June 27, 2008

Accountability in Higher Education

There have been discussions of using standardized tests in undergraduate institutions as a part of an institutional accountability system. A working committee was established by the ational Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC) and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU). They developed a framework that is called the Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA). The VSA can be implemented with a series of different examinations (C-Base, CLA, CAAP, MAPP, GRE and ACT WorkKeys). There are currently not enough questions in common across these assessments to support a simple value-added model. There is the notion, however, that VA measures are the goal for the test-based elements in the accountability system.

The piece linked to by the title suggests that this approach follows the recommendations of the Spellings Commission too closely. Tests will not capture the range of what undergraduates are expected to learn across a wide range of subjects. The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU) has established the Valid Assessment of Learning in Undergraduate Education (VALUE) project to expand assessment efforts beyond tests to include an e-portfolio approach that would document both growth and breadth of student learning and development.


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