Monday, October 24, 2016

Doubts about Data-Driven Assessment Efforts

Inside Higher Education has just released the results of its 2016 Survey of Faculty Attitudes on Technology.  One interesting finding of the survey of 1,671 faculty members and 69 administrators who oversee academic technology relates to the efficacy of data-driven assessment efforts:  
Only about one-quarter of faculty members (27 percent) and one-third (34 percent) of administrators said the efforts have improved the quality of teaching and learning at their institutions. Similar proportions of respondents said the same about the impact on degree completion rates. In comparison, nearly two-thirds of faculty members (65 percent) and about half of administrators (46 percent) said the efforts are meant to placate outside groups such as accreditors and politicians. 
There is probably more nuance in the details of the survey, but those numbers reflect a very low level of support for this approach to improving the quality of teaching and learning in our institutions of higher education.  Half or more of those directly involved think this approach is a response to outside or political pressure, and more than two thirds of those most directly involved in the actual business of teaching do not think it has improved either teaching or learning. After ten or more years of this approach, it is probably time that assessment was seriously assessed for its effectiveness.

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