Report calls for third-party accreditation 'gatekeeping'
- The Center for American Progress has released a report which calls for a two-tiered approach to accreditation standard setting, monitoring and funding actions tied to low performance.
- The new system calls for adoption of new accreditation standards set by a third-party with postgraduate job placement and financial health for institutions as metrics of excellence.
- Under the re-imagined accreditation system, the federal government would select the third-party standard creators and be responsible for maintaining student and institutional data guiding the review process, and would oversee final review of effectiveness to determine funding.
So much emphasis is being placed on the responsibility of colleges and universities in student outcomes, when systems already exist to ensure accountability from the real agents of productivity, individual students. While there is merit in making sure that institutions are providing competitive degrees, it is unfair for any school to be judged for the choices, or lack thereof, of individual students to complete or to maximize opportunities a degree can provide.
If 100 recent Harvard graduates elect to join the Peace Corps, or stop for a year to attend to family health concerns, Harvard's institutional profile protects the school from criticism on earnings or default rates. The same cannot be said for 100 Howard University graduates, and the fact that this inequity persists for schools of varying mission, resources and profile without any substantive reaction from the federal government, blunts any faith that reform is possible, even through independent measures.
- Center for American Progress A Quality alternative: A new vision for higher education accreditation