ERIC Number: EJ885227
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Reference Count: 0
Measuring Success for the Real Majority in Higher Education Today
McGuire, Patricia A.
Trusteeship, v18 n1 p19-23 Jan-Feb 2010
U.S. Department of Education studies reveal that, by various measures, almost 75 percent of college students today are "non-traditional." While the "non-traditional" label used to refer mostly to students beyond the 18-to-22 age range (about 40 percent of college students are older than 22), the phrase now connotes students of all ages who are progressing through school with a market basket of courses taken at various institutions over a period of years, in both full-time and part-time programs. Nontraditional students have gone to college in increasingly large numbers since the first G.I. Bill in 1944 supported veterans who needed retooling to enter the postwar economy. Public policy has long supported the presence of adult students in higher education as a means to achieve national economic goals through a more skilled workforce. However, most of the conversation in government and policy circles today about higher-education goals still assumes that nearly all college students are full-time, traditional undergraduates. Rather than relying on traditional metrics such as four- or six-year graduation rates, it would be better for boards and institutional leaders to draft specific plans for assessing educational outcomes for nontraditional students across a set of learning objectives tailored to students' workforce knowledge, skills, and competencies. Boards that want their universities to excel in meeting local and national workforce-development goals should consider several characteristics that mark successful programs for adult students. The author stresses that the ultimate measure of success for higher education is how many citizens are able to acquire the advanced knowledge, skills, values, and competencies necessary to ensure personal success and one's national competitiveness in the challenging 21st century global economy one faces.
Descriptors: Higher Education, Nontraditional Students, College Students, Adult Students, Educational Assessment, Evaluation Methods, Skill Analysis, Time to Degree, Pacing, Graduation Rate, Outcomes of Education, Educational Objectives, Productivity, Knowledge Level, Continuing Education, Human Capital, Economic Impact, Global Approach
Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges. 1 Dupont Circle Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-356-6317; Tel: 202-296-8400; Fax: 202-223-7053; Web site: http://www.agb.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Adult Education; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A