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ERIC Number: ED496328
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Feb-23
Pages: 11
Abstractor: ERIC
Higher Education Accountability for Student Learning. NGA Center for Best Practices Issue Brief
National Governors Association
Each year, states spend collectively more than $70 billion to support higher education, but governors and the public do not have accessible, useful information about what students learn as a result of their time in college. Without reliable information about postsecondary learning outcomes, policymakers can not determine which investments or strategies are most cost-effective, and students, families, and employers do not have information that can improve their decisions about the quality of different providers of higher education. Governors can help restrain college costs--while extending a quality postsecondary education to a larger segment of the population--by insisting that student learning outcomes become an integral part of state higher education accountability systems. Governors can help build accountability systems that distinguish between state-level and institutional standards and assessments, while providing support for each. State-level accountability systems need to focus on aggregate statewide objectives for postsecondary education, whereas institutional systems can reflect institution-specific priorities. Specifically, governors can: (1) call for the development of minimum general educational learning outcomes for undergraduates educated at a public college or university, and require assessment of these outcomes. There is already a good deal of consensus among institutions about these goals; gubernatorial involvement can help elevate this consensus into a stronger tool for public accountability and enhanced institutional performance. These learning objectives may be stated as a set of common undergraduate competencies that all students must demonstrate, such as strong analytical, communication, quantitative, and information skills; and (2) Require student competencies to be assessed and publicly reported through appropriate metrics, such as a combination of statewide sampling and institutional assessments. (Contains 10 notes.)
National Governors Association. 444 North Capitol Street, Washington, DC 20001-1512. Tel: 202-624-5300; Fax: 202-624-5313; Web site:
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Governors Association. Center for Best Practices.
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A