Assessing Basic Academic Skills in Higher Education: The Texas Approach

By Richard T. Alpert; William Phillip Gorth et al. | Go to book overview

The Assessment Movement: Improving Quality or Limiting Access for Minority Students?

Manuel J. Justiz and Marilyn C. Kameen

Following the release of A Nation at Risk by the National Commission on Excellence in Education in 1983 the country turned its attention to the deteriorating condition of education in our elementary and secondary schools. The initiation of a national reform movement in American education signified the public's conviction that education was the cornerstone of a strong and truly representative democracy. The report called on states to increase academic standards and improve quality without compromising the principles of access. State legislatures and policy-makers in all 50 states responded by imposing requirements in the name of "assessment" (e.g., higher graduation requirements, competency testing for high school graduation, standardized tests at various grade levels). More than anything, though, it became clear that the spotlight of national attention would soon be turned on our colleges and universities.


Assessment as a National Issue

The report Involvement in Learning, released in 1984 by the Study Group on the Conditions of Excellence in Higher Education, brought higher education into the forefront of the national reform debate. The report cited higher education as being afflicted with some of the same mediocrity found in elementary and secondary schools. Marchese ( 1987) highlighted these issues when he said that state

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Manuel J. Justiz is chaired professor of Educational Leadership and Policies at the University of South Carolina and former director of the National Institute of Education.

Marilyn C. Kameen is associate professor of Educational Leadership and Policies at the University of South Carolina.

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