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ERIC Number: EJ816785
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0009-1383
The Case for Comparative Institutional Assessment of Higher-Order Thinking Skills
Benjamin, Roger
Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, v40 n6 p50-55 Nov-Dec 2008
Times of threshold change, such as the transformation from the industrial era to the knowledge economy of today, produce pressures to redesign the institutions people live with to respond to, or better, shape this change. In America's knowledge economy, there is broad agreement that the only way to preserve the nation's economic edge will be through constant innovation, the creation of ideas that produce new economic value, for which a highly educated workforce is necessary. So, since education is the principal venue for human capital development, it is not surprising that the public gaze has turned to schools and colleges. Specifically, the public and its representatives want to know about the nature and quality of educational outcomes that those institutions generate. In this context, one of the most contentious questions currently being debated is whether or not it is possible or desirable to assess and publicly communicate about learning outcomes in a way that permits comparisons between institutions. In this article, the author contends that comparative assessments are essential and practical: although all dimensions of learning cannot be measured, it is perfectly possible to comparatively assess the higher-order thinking skills that are etched in most collegiate mission statements, thought to be particularly important in the knowledge economy, and shared by most educators as key aims of instruction: (1) critical thinking; (2) analytical reasoning; (3) problem solving; and (4) writing. He also argues that such assessments are a critical part of larger efforts to develop better approaches to teaching and learning--goals all educators share. Finally, he makes the case for assessing learning in a way that reveals the "value added" by the institution to students' intellectual development. (Contains 12 resources.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A