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Tracking for Success
Accuracy in Academia ^ | December 15, 2009 | Bethany Stotts

Posted on 12/15/2009 8:05:19 AM PST by bs9021

Tracking for Success

Bethany Stotts, December 15, 2009

At a recent American Enterprise Institute (AEI) conference on “Increasing Accountability in American Higher Education,” panelists argued that the key to increased postsecondary accountability lies with better tracking-systems for student learning outcomes and increasing use of standardized tests.

“For those of you who don’t know it [a student unit record system] basically is a data system maintained at the state or system level which contains one record per student containing information about enrollments, behaviors, and so on,” explained Peter Ewell, Vice President of the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS).

“There are forty-eight systems in forty-two states; that means that eight states do not have student unit record systems, but they’re mostly small so we cover about 81 percent of the enrollment in [the] country through these kinds of systems,” he said. “Twelve of them contain data on independent institutions, which is a relatively new development and has happened quite quickly.”

He continued, saying that each of these systems “can produce longitudinal data for tracking students” or “creating graduation rates,” while “about half” have “course-level detail” allowing institutions to determine “what courses seem to lead to what patterns of success.”

Dr. Jeffrey Steedle, a measurement scientist at the Council for Aid to Education, mentioned one example of how tracking data led to curricular changes at some colleges.

“And what this pattern has resulted in several schools, we see schools doing things like changing their course credit model to allow for more opportunities to take challenging courses,” he said, continuing, “we see things like the development of first-year seminars that are focusing on critical-thinking and writing skills. We see biweekly professional development on teaching critical thinking skills and additional writing course, writing requirements [in] every major.”...

(Excerpt) Read more at academia.org ...


TOPICS: Education; Reference; Society
KEYWORDS: academia; accountability; college; testing

1 posted on 12/15/2009 8:05:22 AM PST by bs9021
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