- A technical guide from the Institute for Higher Education Policy follows up on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s call for a new metrics framework to measure the performance of colleges and universities.
- The report identifies and defines 21 performance metrics measuring student access, progress, completion, cost, and post-college outcomes, 10 efficiency metrics measuring institutional resources compared to college completion, and 10 recommended categories to allow for disaggregation and a measure of access for underserved populations.
- Only five of the metrics are available now in federal data sources, while another 19 could be available with moderate modifications, and the report drives home the idea that all institutions should be held accountable based on the entire framework.
The current system of higher education data reporting has a number of significant holes that keep policymakers and families from being able to compare institutions. It also keeps institutions from being able to compare to each other. While the data framework will certainly require colleges and universities to do more work, researchers believe many institutions already collect a lot of the data for their own populations, they are simply not asked to report it to any state-wide or federal agency.
The Obama administration has led a real policy shift toward focusing on student outcomes in higher ed accountability, and his team continues to press that in the final year of his term. It is an open question, based on how the presidential election turns out, whether there will be the political will to continue this project into 2017 and beyond. The reauthorization of the Higher Education Act will come under a new administration and a new Congress.