ERIC Number: EJ1140080
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Toward an Improvement Paradigm for Academic Quality
Roscoe, Douglas D.
Liberal Education, v103 n1 Win 2017
The assessment movement that has emerged on American college campuses over the last twenty years emphasizes the need to carefully articulate the particular outcomes colleges seek for students, and it demands that faculty and administrators provide evidence of their students' success with respect to these outcomes. It also requires that this evidence be used to improve the educational experience of students in order to better meet those outcomes. The transformation of the original assessment movement into "paradigmatic" status has largely been driven by the accreditation process. The regional accrediting bodies, perhaps reasonably concerned about heading off government-mandated standards and testing, now expect institutions to engage in student learning assessment at all program levels, from campus-wide general education down to majors and minors. This paradigm, like all paradigms, has closed off questioning of key assumptions and has facilitated the ossification of certain practices that may no longer serve institutions well. In this article the author's view is that this paradigm should be broken apart by moving away from a focus on assessment and toward an emphasis on improvement. Roscoe Douglas makes the point that such a shift will retain what was valuable in the assessment movement while paring away some of the dysfunctions that have arisen as it has become paradigmatic. Tenets of an improvement paradigm are detailed, and prospects for a paradigm shift are discussed.
Descriptors: Educational Quality, Educational Improvement, College Outcomes Assessment, Educational Change, Change Strategies, Measurement Objectives, Cost Effectiveness, Evaluation Needs, Evaluation Utilization, Evidence Based Practice
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A