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THE NEW LEADERSHIP ALLIANCE FOR STUDENT LEARNING AND ACCOUNTABILITY DAVID C. PARIS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR PROFESSOR OF GOVERNMENT, HAMILTON COLLEGE PROFESSIONAL.

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Presentation on theme: "THE NEW LEADERSHIP ALLIANCE FOR STUDENT LEARNING AND ACCOUNTABILITY DAVID C. PARIS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR PROFESSOR OF GOVERNMENT, HAMILTON COLLEGE PROFESSIONAL."— Presentation transcript:

1 THE NEW LEADERSHIP ALLIANCE FOR STUDENT LEARNING AND ACCOUNTABILITY DAVID C. PARIS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR PROFESSOR OF GOVERNMENT, HAMILTON COLLEGE PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY IN A NEW KEY

2 OVERVIEW This session introduces the New Leadership Alliance for Student Learning and Accountability and several of its initiatives, including the Presidents’ Alliance and Excellent Practice in Student Learning Assessment.

3 VISION The Alliance 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.

4 The Alliance, an advocacy-focused organization, will lead and support voluntary and cooperative efforts to move the higher education community towards gathering, reporting on, and using evidence to improve student learning in American undergraduate education. Through the promotion of shared principles, recommended actions, and innovative initiatives, the Alliance aims: To shape attitudes, practices, and policies related to gathering, reporting on, and using evidence to improve student learning. To promote the establishment of new professional norms for gathering, reporting on, and using evidence of student learning. To increase public confidence in the quality of undergraduate education provided by American colleges and universities. MISSION

5 THE TWO QUESTIONS (you should always ask!) The history question: How did we reach this point, come to consider a problem or proposal? What were people thinking when they developed current arrangements? The problem question: What is the problem for which this (policy, proposal, organization…) is an appropriate response or even a solution? In brief, the New Leadership Alliance emerged as a response to threats of greater regulation of higher education and demands for greater assessment and accountability in higher education. It proposes a new professionalism in terms of norms, standards, and actions in gathering, reporting, and using evidence to improve student learning.

6 A BIT OF HISTORYs. the Feds A golden age (sorta) in American higher education ( ): expansion, opportunity/meritocracy, fiscal support, political deference, and self- regulation via accreditation. Growing dissatisfaction ( ): cost/waste, ideological antagonism, constrained finances/tax resistance, new demographics, questions about quality. Reauthorizations as occasions for questioning higher ed., rethinking/considering regulation, e.g. SPREs in , (the power of the purse).

7 THE SPELLINGS COMMISSION AND THE MOST RECENT REAUTHORIZATION The Spellings Commission report (2006): A Nation at Risk goes to college and flirts with No Child Left Behind (testing, testing). The ensuing battle royal over who will exercise what authority. Another narrow escape, Lamar Alexander and his warning, “If colleges and universities do not accept more responsibility for assessment and accountability, the federal government will do it for them.”

8 ESTABLISHING THE ALLIANCE What are “we” going to do about the threat of regulation and the demands for assessment and accountability (quality assurance)? AAC&U/CHEA/Teagle meeting, June 2007: agreeing to create a principles document. January 2008: AAC&U/CHEA publish New Leadership for Student learning and Accountability: A Statement of Principles, Commitments to Action. May-October 2008: Now what? Who’s “we”? Starting an Alliance, Teagle/Carnegie support—the Alliance is incorporated, March 2009.

9 THE PROBLEM A decentralized, diverse, diffuse industry: American exceptionalism. Autonomy as a blessing and a curse: a 19 th century regime facing 21 st century demands. Undergraduate learning and the Gandhi problem.

10 THE PROBLEM CONTINUED The tensions between assessment and accountability (Ewell, 1987, 2009) 1Announcement 1Announcement The dilemmas of a loosely-joined “system”: Compliance vs. Quality Assurance. Private Candor vs. Public Transparency. Assessment vs. Accountability. Difference vs. Comparability. “Trust us.” vs. “How good?” / “Show me.” Tevye’s response to dilemmas.

11 WHAT IF “WE” GOVERN US? Professionalism: expertise, autonomy, the public interest, and self-regulation. AAUP 1940 “Statement of Principles”: The politics of self-regulation. Tenure: the academic as judge. Professionalism: the academic as scholar and its social context (the public interest?). What kind of profession are we? The “scholar” in a future of mass higher education? “Major” (doctor, lawyer) and “minor” (minister, counselor) professions. Teaching as a profession (NCATE for higher education?). Higher education as a vocation. A profession without standards? Assessment and accountability as paths to professionalism.

12 THE ALLIANCE (again) The Alliance, an advocacy-focused organization, will lead and support voluntary and cooperative efforts to move the higher education community towards gathering, reporting on, and using evidence to improve student learning in American undergraduate education. The Alliance 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. Through the promotion of shared principles, recommended actions, and innovative initiatives, the Alliance aims: To shape attitudes, practices, and policies related to gathering, reporting on, and using evidence to improve student learning. To promote the establishment of new professional norms for gathering, reporting on, and using evidence of student learning. To increase public confidence in the quality of undergraduate education provided by American colleges and universities.

13 PRESIDENTS’ ALLIANCE The Alliance is asking college campuses to make a commitment to build on their previous work to assess, report on, and improve student learning. By joining the Presidents’ Alliance, institutions will gain national recognition for what they have achieved, and the accomplishments will serve as not only an example to other colleges and universities, but will inspire them to take similar actions to assess and improve student learning. By signing the presidential commitment, institutions commit to publicizing their commitment to the campus community, including their governing board. Instititutions also agree to periodically report back to the Alliance on the progress they are making. The Alliance will share and publicly report member institutions' achievements (individually and collectively) on its website and in a variety of ways.

14 COMMITMENT TO GATHERING EVIDENCE Improving the gathering of evidence about student learning outcomes by (for example): Ensuring that your institution collects data on its entire set of common student learning outcomes and how well these are achieved. Participating in one or more nationally benchmarked data collection processes (examination, portfolio, or survey) and publicly reporting the results, including disaggregated evidence (by race, sex, etc.). Developing, discussing, and publicizing a campus wide audit of evidence of student learning and student participation in high impact practices for your institution. Other

15 COMMITMENT TO USING EVIDENCE Expanding the use of evidence on student learning outcomes to improve programs and practices by (for example): Making the analysis, use, and reporting of evidence of student learning outcomes a prominent and influential factor in the institution’s strategic planning or program review process. Documenting and publicizing significant changes and demonstrable improvements in the quality of academic programs, co-curricular programs, and support services as a result of student learning outcomes assessment. Other

16 COMMITMENT TO REPORTING EVIDENCE Expanding the reporting on student learning outcomes on- and off-campus to ensure transparency and accountability by (for example): Developing or improving mechanisms through which student learning outcomes assessment results are shared with faculty, staff, administrators, and students, including opportunities for these groups to meet and review results. Ensuring that at least once a year the governing board of your institution receives and discusses a report about your efforts to assess student learning outcomes and to use that evidence to improve the quality of academic programs, co- curricular programs, and support services. Establishing on your institution's website a highly visible and easily accessible location where assessments of student learning and their uses are made public. Other.

17 COMMITMENT TO BUILDING NETWORKS Expanding the noteworthy work on your own campus to other institutions by (for example): Serving as a resource for other institutions or professional groups who would use your campus as a model for ways to strengthen assessing, reporting on, and improving student learning outcomes. Joining with other members of the Presidents’ Alliance at national conferences and events to report progress on achieving this agenda. Other

18 INSTITUTIONAL CERTIFICATION The Excellent Practice in Student Learning Assessment (EPSLA) institutional certification program will recognize high level institutional performance in assessment and using evidence to improve student learning. Like the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) project run by the U.S. Green Building Council, it is intended to motivate as many institutions as possible to meet high standards. The resulting recognition should persuade many high-performing institutions to seek certification and thereby inspire others to raise their own standards of performance. The certification process will help promote good practices in assessing and improving student learning and will encourage institutions to develop processes in a more meaningful, systematic way.

19 CRITERIA 1: LEARNING OUTCOMES To be certified, an institution must publicly present a common set of student learning outcomes that apply to all undergraduate students, as well as specific student learning outcomes for academic and co-curricular programs. These learning outcomes must reflect the institution’s mission and must be consistent with generally accepted higher education goals. They must clearly articulate what (and at what level) students should be able to do, achieve, demonstrate, and know upon graduation. These outcomes must be a focal commitment of faculty, administrators, staff, and students. The institution must also be able to demonstrate the points in the curriculum and co- curriculum at which undergraduates achieve these learning outcomes.

20 CRITERIA 2: GATHERING EVIDENCE To be certified, an institution must show that it has documented, clearly articulated, intentional, and systematic process for gathering and analyzing evidence of achievement of its overall and programmatic (academic and co- curricular) student learning outcomes. These processes must employ sound evidence-gathering approaches and must yield results that meet appropriate, externally-informed standards or benchmarks. These assessment efforts must be ongoing and integrated into the work of faculty, administrators, and staff. There must be appropriate support for doing assessment (staff, infrastructure, and professional development), and the institution must use widely accepted principles of good analytical practice – including using multiple measures, employing sound approaches, and using systematic quantitative or qualitative methods.

21 CRITERIA 3: REPORTING EVIDENCEEPORT To be certified, the institution must make relevant evidence readily available to the public in an easily understandable way. It must report on how well it is achieving its student learning outcomes through information that is transparent, accessible, and understandable; and/or through events or meetings that are widely-publicized and well-attended.

22 CRITERIA 4: USING EVIDENCEEPORT To be certified, the institution’s leadership (including academic, student affairs, executive, and governing bodies), faculty, and administrators must use the evidence generated by assessment to continuously improve academic programs, co-curricular programs, and support services. In addition, the institution must continuously review, reflect on, and monitor the changes that it has made over time to ensure their continuing effectiveness.

23 FUTURE INITIATIVES “Guidelines” document: endorsement redux “Second generation templates”? Networking: professional work and agreements National Conference or summit (“one voice”)

24 “THERE IS NO OTHER HAND…” We will be doing assessment (and accountability). Some reasons: We have to, “accreditation made us.” It will preserve our autonomy, get them off our backs. It will show how good we are. Some better reasons: “There is nothing to fear.” We will understand our work better. We will serve our students better.

25 A MANTRA Take quality seriously, assess honestly, report openly, improve continuously.

26 JOIN US To stay connected to the Alliance and receive our newsletter please visit and click on the “Get Involved” tab. STAY CONNECTED TO THE ALLIANCE


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