Higher education has been moving from an era dominated by selection of high levels of talent, with a consequent emphasis on admissions testing, to an era concerned with broadening the range of talent, with a consequent emphasis not just on selection but also on assessment for student growth and development. This change has brought with it a heightened attention to the diversity of the student population as a means of expanding the base of talent. At the same time, the burgeoning of computer and audiovisual technology is facilitating the development of alternative self-directed modes of learning and problem solving as well as of alternative modes of assessment. Hence population diversity compounds with a potentially explosive diversity in learning and assessment to highlight the issues of equity and fairness in education and testing.
In Chapter 1, Samuel Messick introduces these themes and emphasizes the intersection of equity and fairness with issues of access, quality, diversity, and accountability in higher education. As introduction to the volume, Messick briefly outlines how the remaining five parts address these issues in the contexts, respectively, of student development, of admissions testing, of the politics of accountability, of fair assessment responsive to human diversity, and of the technological future of higher education.