Quest for College Accountability Produces Demand for Yet More Student Data

Article by Paul Basken published in The Chronicle of Higer Education

After three years of studying ideas for measuring institutional quality, an expert panel assembled by the National Research Council delivered a 192-page report on las Thursday that indicates just how hard it is to do that.

Despite growing pressure from policy makers and prospective students for colleges to prove their value, the institutions have often insisted that their unique missions make simple measurements forbiddingly difficult.

Now they have documented proof.

After three years of studying ideas for measuring institutional quality, an expert panel assembled by the National Research Council delivered a 192-page report on Thurday that indicates just how hard it is to do that.

“While productivity measurement in many service sectors is fraught with conceptual and data difficulties,” the 15-member panel said in its summary, “nowhere are the challenges—such as accounting for input differences, wide quality variation of outputs, and opaque or regulated pricing—more imposing than for higher education.”

 

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