To what extent are our students learning? And, correspondingly, how do we know? The January/February issue of Trusteeship offers readers a series of stories—Inside the New Schoolhouse: What Boards Can Do to Improve Student Learning—on a topic of paramount interest to board members and other higher education leaders. It focuses on four key questions with which trustees need to be concerned: Why should boards focus on academic quality? What metrics might they develop to oversee this complex issue? How might their work change to better monitor educational quality? What is on the horizon regarding student learning?
This fall the growing pressure to demonstrate the value of a college education increased when President Obama announced his initiative to make college more affordable and increase student graduation rates. In his remarks, he states "It is time to stop subsidizing schools that are not producing good results, and reward schools that deliver for American students and our future." But, what does it mean to delivery?
- The Growing Interest in Academic Quality by Peter T. Ewell Escalating demands for accountability, increased competition in the market for students, and the development of evidence-based management techniques are pointing to a growing need for new kinds of information about academic quality.
- Learning Metrics: How Can We Know That Students Know What They Are Supposed to Know? by Ellen Chaffee For both fiduciary and reputational reasons, boards must effectively oversee the quality of student learning at their institutions, including the appropriate ways to assess and measure it.
- Lessons Learned about Student Learning: Eight Test Cases The experience of eight diverse institutions provide insight into the elements that contribute to successful board oversight of educational quality—as well as the potential pitfalls to avoid.
- Competency-Based Education: What the Board Needs to Know by Rebecca Klein-Collins, Stanley O. Ikenberry, and George D. Kuh Increasingly, the current concept of higher education is being replaced by teaching and learning approaches that focus squarely on evidence of what students actually know and can do with what they know.