Thursday, June 21, 2007

Questioning College-Wide Assessments

Inside Higher Ed :
The skills-based assessments recommended by the Secretary of Education’s Commission on the Future of Higher Education could be “misleading” to students and parents because it would measure student performance on an institution-wide level rather than more specifically by area of study, a new study of one of the nation’s largest public university systems suggests.

Using data collected in the 2006 University of California Undergraduate Experience Survey, the study, “Institutional Versus Academic Discipline Measures of Student Experience: A Matter of Relative Validity,” found that undergraduates studying the same disciplines on different campuses have academic experiences more similar to each other than do students studying different subjects on the same campus.

Among the 58,000 undergraduates on eight campuses who participated in the survey, students who majored in the social sciences and humanities reported higher levels of satisfaction with th undergraduate education over all as well as better skills in critical thinking, communication, cultural appreciation and social awareness.

Students majoring in engineering, business, mathematics and computer science, meanwhile, reported more collaborative learning and demonstrated better mathematical skills. Engineering majors, as well as biological and physical science majors, also reported spending more time preparing for and attending classes. ...

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