Measuring student learning outcomes is now more important than ever.
Given the increasing tuition costs students are now faced with, there has been an increase in pressure on higher education institutions by the Department of Education (“ED”) to prove that they are providing a valuable education to their students. The ED wants to better ensure students are receiving the caliber of education that will prepare them to be successfully employed in a competitive workforce.
The higher standards translate into an increase in pressure on accrediting bodies to report any and all schools that are not meeting the advanced standards being implemented by the ED. This means that the schools need to perform!
The bar has been raised
Accrediting bodies are now faced with the threat of losing their status as an accreditor if they cannot demonstrate their schools are meeting the standards laid out by the ED. Pass rates, loan repayment, GPA, and job placement are still extremely important measures for schools. And recently, there has been an increased focus on credit hour requirements and student learning outcomes.
It is now extremely important for schools to prove they are meeting credit hour requirements and student learning outcomes. They need to prove that their credit hours are working in a way that allows them to meet their projected student learning outcomes. If they are falling short, they could lose their privileges as an accredited institution. If a school wants to maintain their accreditation status, they need to rise up to the new regulations.
One way to help
A learning outcomes assessment or measurement tool should be included in all campus or program effectiveness plans. By using a well designed learning outcomes assessment to measure student learning outcomes, schools can effectively and efficiently prove they are meeting the ED standards. Also, accrediting bodies can use the results of the assessment to report whether or not the schools within their network are meeting the necessary requirements. This helps accreditors to maintain their status as an accrediting body and schools to remain accredited. It’s a win-win for everyone!
Consistently using the same assessment will provide accreditors and schools with a benchmark against which they can compare all students.