Boulder, Colorado — U.S. colleges and universities must ensure that college degrees reflect a high level of student achievement and commit to publicly reporting evidence of student learning. That’s the message of a new publication from the New Leadership Alliance for Student Learning and Accountability, endorsed by 27 national higher education organizations, including the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE).
“Committing to Quality: Guidelines for Assessment and Accountability” calls on colleges and universities to answer the question, “Are our students learning?” It asks institutions to take responsibility for assessing and improving student learning: to set clear goals for student achievement, regularly gather and use evidence that measures performance against those goals, report evidence of student learning, and continuously work to improve results.
“Accountability in higher education has long been a major focus of ours at WICHE, and it’s more important than ever today,” says WICHE President David Longanecker. “Every student, no matter what their background, income, or GPA, and no matter whether they’re attending a two-year college, their state’s flagship university, or a private institution, deserves excellent value for their tuition dollars. And we, as American citizens, need all our institutions to consistently and dependably deliver that value, boosting the number of degrees they confer and ensuring that those degrees adequately prepare our students for work and life in the 21st century. If our states and nation are to keep pace in a hypercompetitive global economy, ‘Committing to Quality’ is exactly what they must do – and the New Leadership Alliance’s guidelines give them the tools and strategies they need to do it.”
A free copy of “Committing to Quality: Guidelines for Assessment and Accountability” can be downloaded from http://www.newleadershipalliance.org/what_we_do/committing_to_quality/. A list of endorsements can be viewed at http://www.newleadershipalliance.org/what_we_do/committing_to_quality/endorsements/.
About WICHE & the New Leadership Alliance
The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education and its 15 member states work collaboratively to expand educational access and excellence for all citizens of the West. By promoting innovation, cooperation, resource sharing, and sound public policy among states and institutions, WICHE strengthens higher education’s contributions to the region’s social, economic, and civic life. Our programs—Student Exchange, the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET), Policy Analysis and Research, and Mental Health—are working to find answers to some of the most critical questions facing higher education today. WICHE’s 15 member states include Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
The New Leadership Alliance for Student Learning and Accountability envisions a self-directed, professional higher education community that produces an increasing number of college graduates with high-quality degrees in preparation for work, life, and responsible citizenship. Established in 2009, it is an advocacy-focused organization leading and supporting voluntary and cooperative efforts to move the higher education community towards gathering, reporting on, and using evidence to improve student learning in U.S. undergraduate education. Through the promotion of shared principles, recommended actions, and innovative initiatives, the alliance aims to shape attitudes, practices, and policies related to these activities; to promote the establishment of new professional norms in these areas; and to increase public confidence in the quality of undergraduate education provided by U.S. colleges and universities. The work of the alliance is supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Teagle Foundation.