Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Holding Higher Education Accountable

From Time:

Kevin Carey, policy director at the Washington think tank Education Sector, believes that many colleges do a bad job of

1) teaching students and

2) getting them to graduate.

An essay he wrote for the December issue of Democracy is making waves in the higher-ed world because it describes how a lot of colleges are keeping student-assessment data confidential. He spoke with TIME education correspondent Gilbert Cruz about why parents — and public officials — should demand more accountability from colleges. Virtually no college assesses how much students learn in any subject and publishes data in a way that would allow you to compare it with other colleges. That information simply does not exist.

A couple of years ago, I wrote a column about the University of Nebraska at Omaha — there's the University of Nebraska, which is the one with the football team, and Omaha is the commuter campus. The Omaha campus administered the Collegiate Learning Assessment, and when they issued a press release saying, "We did really, really well," they were yelled at and condemned by a lot of people in higher ed for doing something that was inappropriate.

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