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Key Trends for Quality Assurance in the United States Today PowerPoint Presentation
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Key Trends for Quality Assurance in the United States Today

Key Trends for Quality Assurance in the United States Today

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Key Trends for Quality Assurance in the United States Today

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  1. Key Trends for Quality Assurance in the United States Today Ralph A. Wolff President and Executive Director Senior College Commission Western Assoc. of Schools and Colleges

  2. Main Points R. Wolff June 2010 Accreditation was originally designed to serve institutions to assure that they met the minimum standards of the agency Recently, major reforms were instituted to make accreditation a key driver for internal quality improvement New challenges from the federal government call for accreditation to adopt a new role – as an agent for accountability to the public

  3. Overview R. Wolff June 2010 Background and overview of US accreditation Current issues for quality assurance in US today The changing roles accreditation performs and their implications Tensions that will need to be managed Predicted new roles for accreditation

  4. History and Authority R. Wolff June 2010 Created by institutions over 100 years ago Private and nongovernmental System of self-regulation based on peer review Mission-centered; individual institution based Sets minimum standards and recommends improvements Linked to federal financial aid in 1952 through “recognition” process

  5. Types of Accreditation R. Wolff June 2010 Institutional -- Regional (6 regions; 7 commissions) (140 – 1080 institutions) (4314 institutions) -- National (7 agencies) (3400 institutions) -- Religious (4 agencies) (415 institutions) Specialized/Professional -- > 60 and growing (20,000 programs)

  6. Accreditation Regions R. Wolff June 2010

  7. Federal Review of Accrediting Agencies R. Wolff June 2010 Extensive recognition review every 5 years Required to have standards in 10 areas First is “success with respect to student achievement” Increasing requirements to monitor institutional growth and changes, distance education, finances, etc.

  8. Current Issues Affecting Quality Assurance R. Wolff June 2010 Reduction of financial support Decline in global competitiveness Concern about student achievement Increasing scale of distance education De-institutionalization of learning Rise of for-profit and new institutions

  9. Reduction of Financial Support • Reduced state support leads to higher tuition at public institutions • Private institutions experience tight credit, lower endowment return, and decreased donations • $50B stimulus money for higher education is one time; Federal financial aid increases do not make up difference • Student debt load and work hours increasing R. Wolff June 2010

  10. Decline in Global Competitiveness • Drop in high school graduation rates (77.5%) • Dropped from 1st to 7th in college participation rates of 18-24 year olds • 2d for 35-64 yr. olds; 10th for 25-34 • 15th in completion rates • Lower than OECD average for science and math literacy for 15 yr. olds (PISA scores) R. Wolff June 2010

  11. Concern About Student Achievement R. Wolff June 2010 Completion rates: 54% after 6 years -- need for increased transfers from community colleges -- impact of increased work hours and debt load Student learning results: NAAL, employer surveys Data from national surveys – NSSE, CIRP

  12. Increasing Scale of Distance Education • > 2 million students • Growing rapidly, increasing competition • Hybrid programs most effective • Can be centers of high profit • Continuing Congressional concerns over assuring student identity and impact on quality of rapid growth R. Wolff June 2010

  13. De-Institutionalization of Learning R. Wolff June 2010 >one-third of students attend more than one institution About 10% are simultaneously enrolled at more than one institution Recognition of prior learning Availability of open source courses – MIT, iTunesU, YouTubeU DIY – do it yourself learning –

  14. Rise of For-Profit and New Institutions • Fastest growing sector, 285% in 10 years • 42% of online market • Growth, scalability and high profitability of national systems • Increasing mergers, acquisitions, conversion of nonprofit universities • Joint ventures with nonprofit institutions R. Wolff June 2010

  15. New Forms of Institutions • New, highly specialized institutions/programs • Consortial degree programs across institutions • The “partnering” university – joint and dual degrees • Privatized public universities • Credit aggregators R. Wolff June 2010

  16. Accreditation Reforms 1998-2010 R. Wolff June 2010 Changes in standards – shift from inputs to focus on learning outcomes -- required learning outcomes at institutional and program levels; alignment of course outcomes -- Assessment by multiple means including review of student work -- WASC – mandatory external program review -- Use of assessment results for improvement

  17. Accreditation Reforms (2) R. Wolff June 2010 Changes to visit process – one visit cannot do it all -- SACS Quality Enhancement Project -- HLC Academic Quality Improvement Program -- WASC 3 stage process with a Capacity Review and a separate Educational Effectiveness Review

  18. Impact of Reforms on Institutions R. Wolff June 2010 Focus on internal institutional improvement Nearly all institutions are now identifying learning outcomes Program reviews have been significantly improved, and now address achievement of program learning outcomes Institutions have significantly increased data collection and analysis

  19. Impact of Reforms on Accreditation R. Wolff June 2010 • Accreditation leading institutions into new areas -- student and organizational learning -- program review • Accrediting agencies becoming educational enterprises -- assessment and program review seminars -- annual meetings -- Assessment Leadership Academy

  20. The Challenge of Public Accountability R. Wolff June 2010 Retention and graduation rates: what number is “good enough” for continued accreditation? Student learning: how shall accrediting agencies determine what types and levels of learning is “good enough”? Public reporting and transparency: what information should be made public, and by whom?

  21. Public Accountability – A New Role R. Wolff June 2010

  22. R. Wolff June 2010

  23. President Obama’s Priorities • Highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020 (40 % → 60%) • National high school exit standards • Linked to college readiness standards • $15 billion community college initiative • $50 million for free online courses • New regulations for institutions and accreditors WFS 7-09

  24. WASC Response R. Wolff June 2010 Inventory of Educational Effectiveness Indicators Rubrics for Outcomes, Capstone Courses, Portfolios, Program Review and general Education Focus on retention/graduation in all visits Increased transparency – retention/graduation rates and learning results published by institution

  25. Inventory of EE Indicators R. Wolff June 2010

  26. Rubric for Capstone Courses R. Wolff June 2010

  27. Tensions to Be Managed R. Wolff June 2010 Rankings vs. focus on learning outcomes Mission centered vs. comparative results Peer review vs. external benchmarks What can be measured (normed tests) vs. what should be learned (soft skills) Faculty support and rewards for scholarship vs. improving learning

  28. Predictions for the Future R. Wolff June 2010 Calls for accountability and public reporting will increase The Department of Education will require clearer and more explicit standards Accreditation will need to incorporate key policy issues within its mission-centered framework Accrediting agencies will embrace this new role in different ways, developing multiple models

  29. Summary R. Wolff June 2010 While accreditation is one q.a. system, there are multiple agencies and approaches The belief that anyone can learn and earn a degree at any point in their life has created a highly diverse system There is room for tremendous growth in higher education, which will lead to new institutional forms

  30. Summary (2) R. Wolff June 2010 New policy issues will lead accreditation into new areas of leadership Accreditation has proven itself capable of tremendous reform and adaptability and it will do so in response to new accountability demands This will lead to greater emphasis on outcomes and greater transparency