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ERIC Number: EJ926392
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0009-1383
Academic Standards: The British Experience
Brown, Roger
Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, v43 n3 p65-70 2011
Although many of the recommendations in "A Test of Leadership: Charting the Future of U.S. Higher Education" (the Spellings Commission report) have still to be implemented, policy makers' insistence that American colleges and universities measure student learning outcomes in a way that permits comparisons seems unlikely to go away. Nor does the recommendation that surfaced in the meetings following the report's release--that accrediting agencies should start insisting on at least minimal standards for graduation--seem likely to disappear, especially given the development of common standards for K-12 described by Kati Haycock in the July/August 2010 issue of "Change." Proponents of the recommendations argue that being able to compare the learning outcomes of various colleges and universities enables those institutions to improve and students to make informed choices, and that common standards will clarify what it means to earn a college degree. Meanwhile, opponents argue that institutions are too diverse to compare and that common standards are either impossible to develop or not useful, as well as an infringement of institutional autonomy and academic freedom. Nevertheless, these concerns and pressures seem unlikely to abate. Does the British experience offer a possible means of squaring this particular circle? This article begins by outlining the British approach to quality assurance. It describes challenges to the system that surfaced in the mid-90s and the institutions' responses to them. It then looks at the further challenges that have arisen with marketization, challenges that can be expected to intensify when what is in effect a voucher system for funding university teaching is introduced in 2012. It concludes by sketching out a reform program that attempts to put academic control of standards on a more secure and professional footing and that may also be of some relevance to the US. (Contains 3 boxes and 10 resources.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom; United States