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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