ERIC Number: ED202338
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1975-May
Reference Count: N/A
Problems and Issues Related to the Data Game.
Huff, Robert A.
Ways that data can be misused in establishing accountability of public higher education are described along with approaches to help alleviate the potential adversary relationships between postsecondary leaders and state agency personnel. It is suggested that scholars fear a future in which educational decisions may be made according to numbers or by state agency staff who may lack expertise about the issues in higher education. Part of the relationship between state agencies and colleges is influenced by the analysis of data and subsequent conclusions. It is a political tactic to display only those pieces of information that are supportive of a preconceived position, and data elements can be aggregated using decision rules that maximize some comparative figures and minimize others. Data can be manipulated in many ways so as to mislead decision-makers, and decision-makers can choose to base judgments on only scraps of evidence. Faculty suspect that state agency staff and the general public neither understand nor appreciate their unique working style or professional role, and institutional administrators fear loss of autonomy to manage their own campuses. It is proposed that all parties may feel more comfortable if there are clear policy statements guaranteeing certain decisions and responsibilities to each group. One necessary step is to develop a Bill of Rights at the state level so that all participants will have a clear understanding of how the state higher education system is to operate. Additionally, a clear statement defining the sequence of events within the planning and budgeting processes and specifications for a statewide data base and management information system could be developed. Emphasis could be placed on collecting only those data elements that are essential for the prescribed planning and budgeting process. (SW)
Descriptors: Academic Freedom, Accountability, Budgeting, Conflict Resolution, Data Analysis, Decision Making, Evaluation Criteria, Government School Relationship, Guidelines, Higher Education, Institutional Autonomy, Management Information Systems, Political Influences, State Colleges, State Officials, Statewide Planning
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Kellogg Foundation, Battle Creek, MI.
Authoring Institution: State Higher Education Executive Officers Association.; Education Commission of the States, Denver, CO. Inservice Education Program.