ERIC Number: ED498353
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2003
Reference Count: N/A
Is Accreditation Accountable? The Continuing Conversation between Accreditation and the Federal Government. CHEA Monograph Series 2003, Number 1
Eaton, Judith S.
Council for Higher Education Accreditation
This monograph addresses key issues in the current discussion between accreditation and the federal government relative to accountability and higher education. The reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) now being discussed in Congress is driving this issue to the top of the academic agenda. The paper describes some of the accountability expectations of those in government in relation to accreditation, especially accountability and evidence of institution and program performance and student learning outcomes. It contrasts these government expectations with the accountability expectations of some in higher education and accrediting organizations themselves. The paper then examines four options that are being discussed in relation to these government calls for accountability in the context of the current reauthorization. One option offered by some in higher education is to do nothing on the assumption that, in relation to the current call for accountability, "this, too, shall pass." A second option is to affirm the value and effectiveness of current accreditation practice as adequate evidence of accountability. A third option has been offered by a member of Congress and would separate accreditation from the HEA on the grounds that the differences between what accreditation does and what government wants cannot be reconciled. A fourth option offered here seeks to bridge the divide that appears to exist between what government wants and what accreditation does by urging accrediting organizations and higher education to take steps to address the current accountability expectations in this reauthorization, but only in the context of the federal government acknowledging that these organizations and institutions (not government) have primary responsibility for judgments about academic quality, including institution and program performance and student learning outcomes. Appendix A presents the United States Department of Education Recognition Standards. Appendix B presents The Effectiveness and Value of Accreditation. (Lists 6 sources.) [This report was produced by CHEA (Council for Higher Education Accreditation) Institute for Research and Study of Accreditation and Quality Assurance.]
Descriptors: Program Effectiveness, Higher Education, Federal Aid, Federal Government, Educational Policy, Accountability, Accreditation (Institutions), Government School Relationship, Federal Legislation, Academic Achievement, Educational Quality, Expectation, Student Financial Aid, Quality Control
Council for Higher Education Accreditation. One Dupont Circle Suite 510, Washington, DC 20016. Tel: 202-955-6126; Fax: 202-955-6129; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.chea.org
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: Council for Higher Education Accreditation, Washington, DC.
Identifiers - Location: United States
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Higher Education Act Title IV