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National Coalition for Learning Outcomes Assesment

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  • It is time to make our academic standards clear

Comments May 17, 2011 11:28 am

Nice to see Paul devoting a paragraph to the Degree Qualifications Profile. Next time, make it 6 paragraphs, because this truly transformational document is more an interative process than a document per se, and envisions at least a half-dozen serious years of heavy-duty expansion, modification, and buy-in---especially including it's teeth, i.e. the elevation of documented discrete competencies over credits and grades as the principal criterion for awarding degrees. Lumina has been smart to open its grants-making on this playing field with 2 regional accrediting bodies (WASC and HLC) because accreditors have policy leverage. Now we need state systems to step forward in the next round of DQP grants---and for the same reason: policy leverage. Other participating groups are fine, but from Paul's perspective, the states have to be up-front in this effort.Cliff Adelman, Institute for Higher Education Policy

Reply to at 11:28 am May 17, 2011 8:28 pm

Paul has urged sobriety in the midst of a raving push to increase enrollment without regard to almost anything else. His message may be hard to take if one feels no sense of responsibility to educationally and economically disadvantaged students. Anyone dedicated to teaching and learning, however, would line up four square behind his point of view.Jim SultonBrookdale Community College

Reply to at 8:28 pm May 18, 2011 9:00 pm

Paul's comment is right on. As a recently retired state regulator of colleges, I would add only that there are in fact not fifty different sets of standards, but hundreds, in use by the states. The reasons for this are complex and have a lot to do with local history and a tendency of leaders of dissimilar institutions to ignore each other. In addition, in most states, legislatures pay a lot of attention to institutions receiving state funds and often ignore nonpublic providers. The net effect of this is that in most states, public providers operate under a set of oversight standards that are not the same as those applied to nonpublic providers, and there are often separate standards applied to, for example, new programs at public four-year providers and public community colleges. In some states, for-profit providers operate under rules different from nonprofit nonpublic institutions (federal regulations differ as well). Religious colleges are exempt from most state regulation in about half of the states.So let's keep in mind that although the feds have rightly called on colleges to follow state laws, those state laws are mostly a spaghetti of disconnected strands. There is room for improvement everywhere.Alan ContrerasEugene, Oregon

Reply to at 9:00 pm