In the Fall of issue of Intersection, which is the Association for the Assessment of Learning in Higher Education’s journal, Dave Eubanks of Furman Univeristy offers an insider perspective on the failure of assessment to fulfill its advocates’ expectation that it would improve student learning. Eubanks argues that the scale at which assessment is done causes the data that are collected to be of very low quality. Trying to improve courses or programs based on bad data is, not surprisingly, a fool’s errand.
The article is found here. The entire issue appears as a single page so you need to scroll down a bit to get to the article.
My article about the implications of Eubanks’ argument is in this article in the Chronicle.
Dual Enrollment is growing by leaps and bounds. According to this report from Marketplace over 1 million students are taking college courses in high school. It’s a good thing that the press is starting to look at Dual Enrollment. Compared to an issue like distance learning that gets lots of attention, dual enrollment has been largely ignored. I would argue that it is at least as transformative as distance education, but it gets much less attention.
For a more critical take on the subject, here is an article by Bad Assessment contributor Erik Gilbert.
The demand for accountability in higher education has led to a cottage industry of “assessment experts” who claim to be able to measure, add, and compare what happens inside and outside of classrooms in higher education. While some approaches may have merit, in practice many of the schemes are useless (like counting angels) or potentially even harmful. Inside an academic discipline an idea without merit would be met with study and dialogue that would prevent it from gaining traction. However, because these counting exercises are being promoted by accrediting agencies with enormous power over colleges, administrators and faculty are reluctant to object. Instead, they grudgingly comply and hire staff to check all the bureaucratic boxes. Meanwhile, meetings about these assessment schemes, often financed by well-meaning foundations, are usually attended only by the true believers (often, the assessment staff hired by the colleges to implement the schemes), leading the attendees to have even greater confidence that they are on the righteous path.