ERIC Number: ED498965
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Feb
Learning about Student Learning from Community Colleges. Carnegie Perspectives
Hutchings, Pat; Shulman, Lee S.
Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
The authors point out that offices of institutional research are valuable resources for collecting data to help faculty improve their teaching, and can involve the whole institution in a collaborative effort towards improved student learning. Defining institutional research as a capacity to work closely with faculty to explore questions about what students are actually learning, the authors discuss a Carnegie Foundation project focused on pre-collegiate, developmental education in community colleges, where institutional research is an under-funded, under-valued function on many two-year campuses. What may be needed, say the authors, is not an information superhighway but a friendlier set of neighborhood paths and backstreets that take people where they need to go as educators. This, in turn, may require a different way of organizing the work of institutional research, and resources to support a central role. Questions about who talks to whom, and about what kinds of information are institutionally valued and available, are central to an institution's capacity to improve. While the availability of data is never a sufficient condition for improvement, it is certainly a necessary one. Community colleges, with their "can do" attitudes, and their willingness to experiment, may well have things to teach the rest of higher education about the best ways to think about the evidence needed for improvement.
Descriptors: Institutional Research, Community Colleges, Internet, Data Collection, Cooperative Planning, Educational Research, Developmental Programs, College Role, Educational Improvement, College Preparation
Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. 51 Vista Lane, Stanford, CA 94305. Tel: 650-566-5102; Fax: 650-326-0278; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.carnegiefoundation.org
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: Two Year Colleges
Authoring Institution: Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Menlo Park, CA.