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Article
Publication date: 22 May 2007

Lynn Priddy

The aim of this paper is to describe how academic institutions that focus improvement of student learning do much better than those that focus on compliance and assessment.

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Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to describe how academic institutions that focus improvement of student learning do much better than those that focus on compliance and assessment.

Design/methodology/approach

A reflective observation of institutional interaction with the North Central Association Higher Learning Commission, especially the 264 colleges and universities that have participated in the Commission's assessment workshops, provides insight into the characteristics that make the most positive difference.

Findings

The paper finds that academic institutions do better when: assessment is best understood as the means and student learning itself as the end; shared responsibility and collective capacity are intentionally developed; internal leaders, of different types, are identified and developed; collaborative processes that actively engage people replace concerns about buy‐in; institutions jump in and learn as they go along; program review becomes an area of shared faculty/administration interest; changed, parallel or separate core processes permit attention to enduring issues; and institutions begin wherever they chose to begin and from there develop the means to complete a full cycle of outcomes assessment. Another more recent emphasis is the need to inform the public and other stakeholders about what students are learning.

Originality/value

This paper draws on the insights of those who work at the Higher Learning Commission, who share the unusual perspective of having experience of dealing with hundreds of academic institutions.

Details

On the Horizon, vol. 15 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1074-8121

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 22 May 2007

David Shupe

The aim of this paper is to describe how a college or university can develop the organizational capacity to focus on student learning outcomes. It seeks to show how the consistent

1172

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this paper is to describe how a college or university can develop the organizational capacity to focus on student learning outcomes. It seeks to show how the consistent application of this capacity would provide not only a response to external expectations, but also unexpected benefits that, when taken together, would create a significantly better academic institution.

Design/methodology/approach

Six years of research and development, primarily as part of an expanding collaborative endeavor between participating colleges/universities and an independent academic R&D firm, has provided a laboratory for iteratively creating and testing new academic processes and supporting technologies.

Findings

Five essential elements of outcomes assessment, when incorporated into a system‐supported academic process, can enable an institution to generate data on actual student learning directly out of its regular program wherever and whenever it chooses to do so, with seven significant benefits.

Originality/value

The organizational capacity described in this paper directly overcomes organizational invisibility of student achievement within its educational program – a century‐old deficiency within higher education.

Details

On the Horizon, vol. 15 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1074-8121

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 22 May 2007

David Shupe

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Abstract

Details

On the Horizon, vol. 15 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1074-8121

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