Assessment and Evaluation:
A Systems Approach for their
T. Dary Erwin
The future of higher education depends on our action now. It depends in part upon our explanations about the purposes and value of college and upon our ability to document the effectiveness of the programmes and services our institutions provide for students. How do we represent our purposes of higher education? How do we utilize or establish systems of programme assessment that are credible to our constituents and meaningful to ourselves? This chapter will describe some of the public policy issues confronting higher education and address some of the ways educators can respond through assessment practice.
One of the most influential US governors in education, Roy Romer, recently wrote:
Yet, I continue to be amazed at the resistance I encounter to examining
whether we can measure and report on effective learning at individual
institutions and provide good information to inform consumers about
their choices. I also continue to be amazed at the inability of policy-
makers and public leaders to create meaningful and useful account-
ability systems for higher education. Finally, I am amazed at how many
people are content to rest on the laurels of the past and insist that our
higher education institutions need not change because they are the best
in the world.
In the USA, Romer's comments capture the sentiment of many persons outside of higher education who occupy some role of governance or influence over higher education.