Accountability and Unexamined Assumptions

The Chronicle of Higher Education’s Ticker notes an issue brief from the National Governors’ Association that urges states “to measure student achievement more thoroughly in order to improve academic performance, ensure that tax dollars are being used wisely, and foster economic growth”.

The governors say “student learning is core to the mission of the postsecondary system” and that they focus on “measuring student achievement as a crucial indicator of postsecondary performance.”

They go on to say that “The four key student achievement milestones all states should track are: • Successful completion of remedial and core courses; • Advancement from remedial to credit-bearing courses; • Transfer from a two-year institution to a four-year institution; and • Credential attainment.”

The assumption is that student learning is related to these “achievement milestones”. As to what that relationship is, and what should constitute those milestones, the Governors are silent.

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