ERIC Number: EJ1160825
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
A Grand Bargain on Quality Assurance?
Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, v49 n5 p66-70 2017
The higher education community faces a wave of challenges. Concerns about affordability and costs have led to questions about the value of higher education to students and society. State and federal funding has been cut or has failed to grow as need has ballooned. Pressures to innovate clash with calls for preserving tradition. Values of academic freedom and free speech butt against the need to help all students feel safe and included in campus life. Problems related to completion rates and opportunity gaps continue to fester. A new phase of postsecondary evolution in America is fully underway, putting strain on postsecondary systems that were largely built for another era. In this context, accrediting agencies--once thought to be above reproach by federal policymakers and generally ignored by the public--have been thrust in the spotlight. Many find the accreditation process arcane and opaque, adding to the belief that not enough is being done to promote student success and ensure that institutions are appropriately accountable for their sizable federal investment. The dramatic changes to the postsecondary landscape that have come with new providers, new programs, and new populations of students have added to the pressure to find more effective and efficient regulatory solutions. This article lays out a new federal policy framework for accreditation that would focus on student outcomes and allow for greater differentiation in accreditor engagement with institutions. It is designed to address the core federal interest in ensuring that billions of annual student and taxpayer dollars are spent on quality higher education programs that graduate most students with a valuable credential.
Descriptors: Higher Education, Quality Assurance, Educational Quality, Accreditation (Institutions), Academic Achievement, Risk Assessment, Alignment (Education), Graduation Rate, Academic Persistence
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A