Measuring Achievement in Higher Education

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), October 29, 2007 | Go to article overview

Measuring Achievement in Higher Education


Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Overlooked in your story about transparency in higher education ("Colleges to let public glimpse insider data," Nation, Tuesday) was the recently initiated U-CAN college consumer Web site. The University and College Accountability Network (www.ucan-network.org), made available by the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU) on Sept. 26, gives prospective students and parents free, user-friendly and concise consumer information on hundreds of private institutions. The content and format of the Web site were shaped by focus groups with consumers.

For each participating school, U-CAN provides statistical and narrative information, including average price of attendance and net tuition, five-year tuition trends, graduation rates, average loan debt and more. Unlike the project under consideration by our public-sector colleagues, U-CAN provides access to every college profile from one central Web site. Already, there have been more than 400,000 page views by prospective students and their parents, and by public policy and political officials.

A link from each U-CAN profile takes visitors to a description of academic achievement on the institution's own Web site. Each school decides for itself what information to provide. It could be National Survey of Student Engagement data, alumni satisfaction survey results, Graduate Record Examination scores, the results of an institution-designed measure or something completely different. …

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