ERIC Number: ED192667
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980
Reference Count: 0
A Question of Quality: The Higher Education Ratings Game. AAHE-ERIC/Higher Education Research Report No. 5, 1980.
Lawrence, Judith K.; Green, Kenneth C.
Studies concerning attributes of quality in higher education as defined in academic studies are reviewed. Separate reviews are presented for studies of quality at the graduate level, in professional programs, and at the undergraduate level. Academe's continuing attempts to quantify "quality" so as to measure it empirically rather than subjectively through reputational ratings are examined. In addition, accreditation and state program review, both of which exemplify external approaches to assessing quality in American higher education, are discussed. In academic studies, usually conducted by researchers from the higher education community, assessments have focused on identifying the best institutions (or graduate departments). It is concluded that whether based on peer review or on the application of a set of traditionally-used quantifiable indicators, such assessments ignore about 99 percent of the nation's higher education institutions. It is suggested that these rankings serve to reinforce the hierarchical structure of the system, whereby material and human wealth tend to be concentrated in a few institutions. It is also noted that the teaching-learning function of higher education has been virtually ignored in quality assessments. Conclusions and recommendations as to how quality in higher education might be better defined and how methods of assessing quality might be improved are presented. A bibliography is included .(SW)
Descriptors: Academic Standards, Accreditation (Institutions), Educational Assessment, Educational Quality, Educational Research, Evaluation Criteria, Graduate Study, Higher Education, Institutional Evaluation, Professional Education, Program Evaluation, Reputation, Research Methodology, State Standards, Undergraduate Study
American Association for Higher Education, One Dupont Circle, Suite 780, Washington, DC 20036 ($3.00 members, $4.00 nonmembers)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; ERIC Publications
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (DHEW), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse on Higher Education, Washington, DC.; American Association for Higher Education, Washington, DC.