ERIC Number: ED410812
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997-May
Reference Count: N/A
Refashioning Accountability: Toward a "Coordinated" System of Quality Assurance for Higher Education. Policy Papers on Higher Education.
Ewell, Peter; Wellman, Jane
As public funds decline and the political climate changes, accountability and quality assurance are important issues for U.S. colleges and universities, and institutional leaders are concerned about a shift away from the established institution-centered structures, toward government-mandated, standards-driven systems. This paper explores the "architecture" of accountability in U.S. higher education; it defines issues affecting quality assurance; and, finally, it proposes a coordinated system of quality assurance that rests on the assumption that the various parties involved have different needs, resources, and motivations. The paper begins by setting ground rules and discussing global social and economic trends; it notes design problems in the current accountability system; and identifies public policy problems, such as diploma mills, the lack of standards for distance education programs, student loan defaults, fraud in Title IV programs, and rising tuition costs. The second part of the report proposes the solution to these problems: a "coordinated" system of quality assurance that rests on three strategies: (1) direct regulation, (2) incentive systems, and (3) information-driven markets. It describes the roles in such a system of the federal government, the states, institutional accreditors and governing boards, disciplinary and professional organizations, third-party information providers, and the market. (CH)
Descriptors: Accountability, Accreditation (Institutions), Audits (Verification), College Outcomes Assessment, Colleges, Competency Based Education, Educational Assessment, Educational Quality, Evaluation Criteria, Evaluation Utilization, Federal Aid, Federal Programs, Federal Regulation, Government School Relationship, Higher Education, Organizational Objectives, Performance, Performance Based Assessment, Productivity, Public Support, Quality Control, Standards, State Regulation, Universities
Education Commission of the States Distribution Center, 707 17th Street, Suite 2700, Denver, Co. 80202-3427; phone: 303-299-3600; fax: 303-296-8332 ($12.50 plus $4.25 postage).
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Community; Policymakers; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: Education Commission of the States, Denver, CO.
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Higher Education Act Title IV