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Institutional Ratings

by Tod Massa 23. August 2013 20:49

Yesterday and today, the big news was President Obama's plan to make college affordable.You have probably seen the coverage, and, if you are following us on Twitter, you have seen my comments, They boil down to these: We have more and better data than USED, and I am not sure we would want to create such ratings. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for accountability and transparency, and almost all of the proposal is based on sound research and experience from across the country, but my last seven years of involvement in Restructuring and the Institutional Performance Standards leave me very thoughtful about to what to measure, and why. The consequences of measurement matter as well. Matt Reed at Confessions of a Community College Dean has written a nicely thoughtful piece about the risks to community colleges.  Andrew Kelly at the American Enterprise Institute has raised three questions that are important to consider about the proposal.

There are additional articles on Inside Higher Ed, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and the mainstream media.

We really don't have enough information to fairly evaluate the proposal and there is a still a long process ahead to determine the specifics. However, Virginia has very relevant experience and expertise and I hope we are at the table - several times.

We have a lot of powerful data on the SCHEV Research website. More is coming. The debt reports will be out soon. We are updating the wage reports and those will be refreshed with added value. We are also creating some new displays of the sub-cohort data. If you are unfamiliar with those reports, they have been the source of my comments in the six-year plan meetings when I talk about the graduation rates of students that complete 24 credits in the first year,  60 or credits in the first two years with a "C" or better. 



 Measures like this allow us to talk about student success with much greater nuance. Likewise, the transfer reports allow us to go well beyond the limits of the GRS, and really begin to look at how well two-year colleges are preparing students for the four-year institutions.




 Whatever happens, I hope Virginia is able to play a leadership role.



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