Us perspectives on educational quality assessment and accreditation
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US Perspectives on Educational Quality, Assessment, and Accreditation. A Presentation Dr. Joseph G. Burke Fulbright Specialist, Thailand June 2013. Outline. Describe US values & impact on quality Outline US quality movement Rationale and history Describe US Approach

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US Perspectives on Educational Quality, Assessment, and Accreditation

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Us perspectives on educational quality assessment and accreditation

US Perspectives on Educational Quality, Assessment, and Accreditation

A Presentation

Dr. Joseph G. Burke

Fulbright Specialist, Thailand

June 2013



  • Describe US values & impact on quality

  • Outline US quality movement

    • Rationale and history

  • Describe US Approach

  • Questions and Answers

Us higher education values context

US Higher Education: Values & Context

Fundamental american values

Fundamental American Values

  • Three Scales

    - FREEDOM v order

    - INDIVIDUAL v society

    - LIMITED v powerful government

  • Strong belief in market approach to societal issues

  • Values influenced:

    • Constitution: Federal system and separation of powers

    • Government policy regarding education & accreditation

    • Others: health care, gun control

Us higher education context

US Higher Education Context

  • No powerful ministry of education

  • Who’s in Charge?

    • Feds provide some financial support and broad policy outlines

    • State/local governments provide financial support and regulation

    • Multiple non-governmental groups provide “participatory” rule making regimes: commissions, associations, agencies, boards



  • US higher education system highly diverse & decentralizedw/autonomous institutions

  • Overlapping funding/regulatory structures

  • Multiple organizations involved in accreditation

  • Yet system:

    • “best in the world” reputation

    • protects academic freedom

    • Encourages innovative and critical thinking w/entrepreneurial and highly successful graduates

Quality assessment us history

Quality Assessment US History

  • (1983) “A Nation at Risk” report of Reagan era

    • Decline in learning standards versus rising costs

  • (1985) “Time for Results” examination of HE

  • (1985-2000) – Rise of Assessment Movement

    • Phase I – Total Quality Procedures inherited from

      Industry (Processes and Industrial- type Awards)

    • Phase II – Data Compilation

    • Phase III – Big Question, comparative, and Internationalization Stage

    • Phase IV -Current

  • 2000 – Growing concern US education system less competitive.

    • Growing federal intervention

Why assessment movement

Why Assessment Movement?

  • Atmosphere of accountability

  • Increased competition in academic marketplace

  • Constrained fiscal condition requires evidence-based academic management

  • Technology provides increased capacity to generate, compile, present, and analyze evidence

    • Use of “Dashboards” (analytics)

  • Industry provides better management techniques

The us approach


Institutional accreditation

Institutional Accreditation

  • Responsibility

    • Independent regional commissions elected by members

      • Federal government periodically reviews performance

  • Comprehensive focus

    • Resources, governance, faculty qualifications, instructional quality, student performance

  • Consequence of institutional failure

    • Elimination of eligibility to participate in federal student aid and financial loan programs

Programmatic accreditation

Programmatic Accreditation

  • Responsibility

    • Commissions chosen by professional membership associations

    • Some states involved in program approval

  • Dual Focus

    • Faculty qualifications, curriculum, student performance

    • Level of Institutional support

  • Consequences of failure dependent on professions

Accreditation process

Accreditation Process

  • Comprehensive Self Study by institution

  • Multiday visit by peers, w/report & recommendations

  • Institution comments

  • Commission action

    • Accredit

    • Accredit with warning and reporting requirement

    • Not Accredit

  • Appeal Process

Questions for university council and administrative leadership

Questions for University Council and Administrative Leadership

  • How Good is our Product

    • What a student knows and can do upon graduation?

    • What is the “value added” by the learning process?

  • How good are we at producing our product?

    • -retention and graduation rates

  • Are our customers satisfied?

  • Do we have the right mix?

  • Do we make the grade? (Accreditation)



  • Based Upon American Value System

  • De-centralized w/multiple actors and approaches

  • Focused on Student Development and Learning

  • Quality approach Emphasizes formative evaluation and continuous improvement

  • Accreditation based upon summative evaluation of

    • Resource availability

    • Program qualifications and results

    • Assessment process

Comparison of us and other approaches to quality

Comparison of US and Other Approaches to Quality

  • US tends to disaggregate quality and risk management functions

  • US less focused on comparative rankings

  • US has far more diversified and de-centralized approach

  • Each approach has strengths and weaknesses

  • US accreditation/educational system under review

    • National concerns about quality, competitiveness, effectiveness of meeting changing occupational requirements

Agb resources

AGB Resources

  • Peter T. Ewell, Making the Grade, Second Edition, AGB Press, 2012.

  • “AGB Statement on Board Responsibility for the Oversight of Educational Quality, AGB Press, 2011.

  • “How Boards Oversee Educational Quality: A Report on a Survey on Boards and the Assessment of Student Learning,” AGB Press, 2010.

Question and answers

Question and Answers

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