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ERIC Number: EJ1079314
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 9
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0009-1383
Beyond Compliance: Making Assessment Matter
Kuh, George D.; Ikenberry, Stanley O.; Jankowski, Natasha A.; Cain, Timothy Reese; Ewell, Peter T.; Hutchings, Pat; Kinzie, Jillian
Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, v47 n5 p8-16 2015
The expectation for accountability is legitimate. In order to have the desired effects, evidence of what students know and can do must respond to genuine institutional needs and priorities. Far too often, that condition is not met. On too many campuses, assessment activity is mired in a culture of compliance rather than driven by collective concern about student performance or an ethos of "positive restlessness," where information about student learning outcomes helps answer questions of real significance to faculty, staff, and students. The imperative to "make assessment matter," needs to be understood in the context of the changing environment of post secondary education. This article details five well established trends that underscore why use of evidence of student learning will be so important in the coming years: (1) A major driver of change in American higher education for the foreseeable future will be a harsher, less-forgiving economic environment that will place a greater premium on evidence of what students know and are able to do; (2) Technology-enhanced platforms will provide new and more comprehensive ways to monitor and document student proficiencies; (3) The roles and characteristics of providers and certifiers of learning--be they tenure-line faculty members, adjuncts, professional staff, interactive-software users, or some as-yet "unimaginable other"--will continue to expand; (4) The emergence of more comprehensive and transparent credentialing frameworks will bring more order, meaning, and legitimacy to the escalating numbers of post-secondary credentials--degrees, diplomas, certificates, certifications, licenses, badges, accreditations, and other mechanisms that recognize what students know and can do; and (5) Increasingly, individual students, rather than colleges or universities, are becoming responsible for maintaining a cumulative record of their post-secondary knowledge and proficiencies. The value of assessment can only be measured by the contribution it makes to student success and the degree to which it improves institutional performance. A campus that prioritizes gathering evidence to answer and then address important questions about student learning realizes the double benefit of getting better while also meeting accountability demands. In this way, accountability becomes a natural by-product of assessment, not its driver.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A