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Paper on Standardized Assessments of Learning

March 23, 2016

A new report from New America, a think tank, looks at research on the assessment of college learning. The paper by Fredrik DeBoer, a lecturer at Purdue University, tracks the overall push for more assessment and data collection in higher education. It also describes the resulting backlash.

"Effective assessment of student learning in any context represents a significant challenge," the paper said, "and controversies persist at all levels of education about which methods of data collection and analysis are most effective and appropriate."

DeBoer argues that faculty members and local college administrators must be welcomed into the assessment process. He also writes that standardized assessments from testing firms should be subject to external validation.

"Researchers must vet these instruments to determine how well they work, and what the potential unforeseen consequences are of these types of assessments, for the good of all involved," writes DeBoer.

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Paul Fain

Paul Fain, Contributing Editor, came to Inside Higher Ed in September 2011, after a six-year stint covering leadership and finance for The Chronicle of Higher Education. Paul has also worked in higher ed P.R., with Widmeyer Communications, but couldn't stay away from reporting. A former staff writer for C-VILLE Weekly, a newspaper in Charlottesville, Va., Paul has written for The New York Times, Washington City Paper and Mother Jones. He's won a few journalism awards, including one for beat reporting from the Education Writers Association and the Dick Schaap Excellence in Sports Journalism Award. Paul got hooked on journalism while working too many hours at The Review, the student newspaper at the University of Delaware, where he earned a degree in political science in 1996. A native of Dayton, Ohio, and a long-suffering fan of the Cincinnati Bengals, Fain plays guitar in a band with more possible names than polished songs.

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