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Key Trends for Quality Assurance in the United States Today Ralph A. Wolff President and Executive Director Senior College Commission Western Assoc. of.

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Presentation on theme: "Key Trends for Quality Assurance in the United States Today Ralph A. Wolff President and Executive Director Senior College Commission Western Assoc. of."— Presentation transcript:

1 Key Trends for Quality Assurance in the United States Today Ralph A. Wolff President and Executive Director Senior College Commission Western Assoc. of Schools and Colleges

2 Main Points Accreditation was originally designed to serve institutions to assure that they met the minimum standards of the agency Accreditation was originally designed to serve institutions to assure that they met the minimum standards of the agency Recently, major reforms were instituted to make accreditation a key driver for internal quality improvement Recently, major reforms were instituted to make accreditation a key driver for internal quality improvement New challenges from the federal government call for accreditation to adopt a new role – as an agent for accountability to the public New challenges from the federal government call for accreditation to adopt a new role – as an agent for accountability to the public 2R. Wolff June 2010

3 Overview Background and overview of US accreditation Background and overview of US accreditation Current issues for quality assurance in US today Current issues for quality assurance in US today The changing roles accreditation performs and their implications The changing roles accreditation performs and their implications Tensions that will need to be managed Tensions that will need to be managed Predicted new roles for accreditation Predicted new roles for accreditation 3R. Wolff June 2010

4 History and Authority Created by institutions over 100 years ago Created by institutions over 100 years ago Private and nongovernmental Private and nongovernmental System of self-regulation based on peer review System of self-regulation based on peer review Mission-centered; individual institution based Mission-centered; individual institution based Sets minimum standards and recommends improvements Sets minimum standards and recommends improvements Linked to federal financial aid in 1952 through “recognition” process Linked to federal financial aid in 1952 through “recognition” process 4R. Wolff June 2010

5 Types of Accreditation Institutional Institutional -- Regional (6 regions; 7 commissions) (140 – 1080 institutions) (4314 institutions) -- National (7 agencies) (3400 institutions) -- Religious (4 agencies) (415 institutions) Specialized/Professional Specialized/Professional -- > 60 and growing (20,000 programs) 5R. Wolff June 2010

6 Accreditation Regions 6R. Wolff June 2010

7 Federal Review of Accrediting Agencies Extensive recognition review every 5 years Extensive recognition review every 5 years Required to have standards in 10 areas Required to have standards in 10 areas First is “success with respect to student achievement” First is “success with respect to student achievement” Increasing requirements to monitor institutional growth and changes, distance education, finances, etc. Increasing requirements to monitor institutional growth and changes, distance education, finances, etc. 7R. Wolff June 2010

8 Current Issues Affecting Quality Assurance Reduction of financial support Reduction of financial support Decline in global competitiveness Decline in global competitiveness Concern about student achievement Concern about student achievement Increasing scale of distance education Increasing scale of distance education De-institutionalization of learning De-institutionalization of learning Rise of for-profit and new institutions Rise of for-profit and new institutions 8R. Wolff June 2010

9 9 Reduction of Financial Support Reduced state support leads to higher tuition at public institutions Reduced state support leads to higher tuition at public institutions Private institutions experience tight credit, lower endowment return, and decreased donations Private institutions experience tight credit, lower endowment return, and decreased donations $50B stimulus money for higher education is one time; Federal financial aid increases do not make up difference $50B stimulus money for higher education is one time; Federal financial aid increases do not make up difference Student debt load and work hours increasing Student debt load and work hours increasing

10 10R. Wolff June 2010 Decline in Global Competitiveness Drop in high school graduation rates (77.5%) Drop in high school graduation rates (77.5%) Dropped from 1 st to 7 th in college participation rates of year olds Dropped from 1 st to 7 th in college participation rates of year olds 2d for yr. olds; 10 th for d for yr. olds; 10 th for th in completion rates 15 th in completion rates Lower than OECD average for science and math literacy for 15 yr. olds (PISA scores) Lower than OECD average for science and math literacy for 15 yr. olds (PISA scores)

11 Concern About Student Achievement Completion rates: 54% after 6 years Completion rates: 54% after 6 years -- need for increased transfers from community colleges -- impact of increased work hours and debt load Student learning results: NAAL, employer surveys Student learning results: NAAL, employer surveys Data from national surveys – NSSE, CIRP Data from national surveys – NSSE, CIRP 11R. Wolff June 2010

12 12R. Wolff June 2010 Increasing Scale of Distance Education > 2 million students > 2 million students Growing rapidly, increasing competition Growing rapidly, increasing competition Hybrid programs most effective Hybrid programs most effective Can be centers of high profit Can be centers of high profit Continuing Congressional concerns over assuring student identity and impact on quality of rapid growth Continuing Congressional concerns over assuring student identity and impact on quality of rapid growth

13 De-Institutionalization of Learning >one-third of students attend more than one institution >one-third of students attend more than one institution About 10% are simultaneously enrolled at more than one institution About 10% are simultaneously enrolled at more than one institution Recognition of prior learning Recognition of prior learning Availability of open source courses – MIT, iTunesU, YouTubeU Availability of open source courses – MIT, iTunesU, YouTubeU DIY – do it yourself learning – eHow.com DIY – do it yourself learning – eHow.com 13R. Wolff June 2010

14 14R. Wolff June 2010 Rise of For-Profit and New Institutions Fastest growing sector, 285% in 10 years Fastest growing sector, 285% in 10 years 42% of online market 42% of online market Growth, scalability and high profitability of national systems Growth, scalability and high profitability of national systems Increasing mergers, acquisitions, conversion of nonprofit universities Increasing mergers, acquisitions, conversion of nonprofit universities Joint ventures with nonprofit institutions Joint ventures with nonprofit institutions

15 15 R. Wolff June 2010 New Forms of Institutions New Forms of Institutions New, highly specialized institutions/programs New, highly specialized institutions/programs Consortial degree programs across institutions Consortial degree programs across institutions The “partnering” university – joint and dual degrees The “partnering” university – joint and dual degrees Privatized public universities Privatized public universities Credit aggregators Credit aggregators

16 Accreditation Reforms Changes in standards – shift from inputs to focus on learning outcomes Changes in standards – shift from inputs to focus on learning outcomes -- required learning outcomes at institutional and program levels; alignment of course outcomes -- Assessment by multiple means including review of student work -- WASC – mandatory external program review -- Use of assessment results for improvement 16R. Wolff June 2010

17 Accreditation Reforms (2) Changes to visit process – one visit cannot do it all Changes to visit process – one visit cannot do it all -- SACS Quality Enhancement Project -- HLC Academic Quality Improvement Program -- WASC 3 stage process with a Capacity Review and a separate Educational Effectiveness Review 17R. Wolff June 2010

18 Impact of Reforms on Institutions Focus on internal institutional improvement Focus on internal institutional improvement Nearly all institutions are now identifying learning outcomes Nearly all institutions are now identifying learning outcomes Program reviews have been significantly improved, and now address achievement of program learning outcomes Program reviews have been significantly improved, and now address achievement of program learning outcomes Institutions have significantly increased data collection and analysis Institutions have significantly increased data collection and analysis 18R. Wolff June 2010

19 Impact of Reforms on Accreditation Accreditation leading institutions into new areas -- student and organizational learning Accreditation leading institutions into new areas -- student and organizational learning -- program review Accrediting agencies becoming educational enterprises Accrediting agencies becoming educational enterprises -- assessment and program review seminars -- assessment and program review seminars -- annual meetings -- Assessment Leadership Academy 19R. Wolff June 2010

20 The Challenge of Public Accountability Retention and graduation rates: what number is “good enough” for continued accreditation? Retention and graduation rates: what number is “good enough” for continued accreditation? Student learning: how shall accrediting agencies determine what types and levels of learning is “good enough”? Student learning: how shall accrediting agencies determine what types and levels of learning is “good enough”? Public reporting and transparency: what information should be made public, and by whom? Public reporting and transparency: what information should be made public, and by whom? 20R. Wolff June 2010

21 Public Accountability – A New Role Focus : ComplianceImprovementAccountability StanceComplianceCollaborationExternally valid and rigorous Scope of review All standardsSelected topics or themes Specific public policy areas identified StandardsPrescriptiveAdaptiveDefined levels of performance R. Wolff June

22 Focus:ComplianceImprovementAccountability Level of judgment Meets standards at minimum level Institution defines level of performance Reviewed against external comparative indicators Ownership of process Controlled by accrediting agency Mission centered; framed by institutions Emphasis on public interest/acco untability ReportingAction reported Institution releases Publicly reported 22R. Wolff June 2010

23 23WFS 7-09 President Obama’s Priorities Highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020 (40 % → 60%) Highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020 (40 % → 60%) National high school exit standards National high school exit standards Linked to college readiness standards Linked to college readiness standards $15 billion community college initiative $15 billion community college initiative $50 million for free online courses $50 million for free online courses New regulations for institutions and accreditors New regulations for institutions and accreditors

24 WASC Response Inventory of Educational Effectiveness Indicators Inventory of Educational Effectiveness Indicators Rubrics for Outcomes, Capstone Courses, Portfolios, Program Review and general Education Rubrics for Outcomes, Capstone Courses, Portfolios, Program Review and general Education Focus on retention/graduation in all visits Focus on retention/graduation in all visits Increased transparency – retention/graduation rates and learning results published by institution Increased transparency – retention/graduation rates and learning results published by institution 24R. Wolff June 2010

25 Inventory of EE Indicators CategoryHave formal outcomes been developed ? Where are outcomes published ? Other than GPA, what evidence is used? Who interprets the evidence? Process used? How are the findings used? Date of last program review? At inst. level For general education List each degree program 25R. Wolff June 2010

26 Rubric for Capstone Courses CriterionInitialEmergingDevelopedHighly Developed Relevant outcomes and evidence identified Valid results Reliable results Results are used The student experience 26R. Wolff June 2010

27 Tensions to Be Managed Rankings vs. focus on learning outcomes Rankings vs. focus on learning outcomes Mission centered vs. comparative results Mission centered vs. comparative results Peer review vs. external benchmarks Peer review vs. external benchmarks What can be measured (normed tests) vs. what should be learned (soft skills) What can be measured (normed tests) vs. what should be learned (soft skills) Faculty support and rewards for scholarship vs. improving learning Faculty support and rewards for scholarship vs. improving learning 27R. Wolff June 2010

28 Predictions for the Future Calls for accountability and public reporting will increase Calls for accountability and public reporting will increase The Department of Education will require clearer and more explicit standards The Department of Education will require clearer and more explicit standards Accreditation will need to incorporate key policy issues within its mission-centered framework Accreditation will need to incorporate key policy issues within its mission-centered framework Accrediting agencies will embrace this new role in different ways, developing multiple models Accrediting agencies will embrace this new role in different ways, developing multiple models 28R. Wolff June 2010

29 Summary While accreditation is one q.a. system, there are multiple agencies and approaches While accreditation is one q.a. system, there are multiple agencies and approaches The belief that anyone can learn and earn a degree at any point in their life has created a highly diverse system The belief that anyone can learn and earn a degree at any point in their life has created a highly diverse system There is room for tremendous growth in higher education, which will lead to new institutional forms There is room for tremendous growth in higher education, which will lead to new institutional forms 29R. Wolff June 2010

30 Summary (2) New policy issues will lead accreditation into new areas of leadership New policy issues will lead accreditation into new areas of leadership Accreditation has proven itself capable of tremendous reform and adaptability and it will do so in response to new accountability demands Accreditation has proven itself capable of tremendous reform and adaptability and it will do so in response to new accountability demands This will lead to greater emphasis on outcomes and greater transparency This will lead to greater emphasis on outcomes and greater transparency 30R. Wolff June 2010


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