The “Quality Agenda:” An Overview of Current Efforts to Examine Quality in Higher Education: A Discussion Paper Prepared for the American Council on Education (ACE)

Title: The “Quality Agenda:” An Overview of Current Efforts to Examine Quality in Higher Education: A Discussion Paper Prepared for the American Council on Education (ACE)
Author: Ewell, Peter T.
Date: 2012
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Description: The U.S. has established ambitious goals for raising postsecondary attainment levels among its citizens. More specifically these goals aim for sixty percent of young adults with a postsecondary credential within the next ten to fifteen years—a goal which, if achieved, would restore the nation’s place as the global leader in educational attainment levels. Deemed the “Completion Agenda” these goals, and associated policy initiatives to achieve them, are shared by the Obama administration, foundations like Lumina and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and a number of states. They are laudable and, with significant effort, achievable. But they are worrisome with respect to academic quality. If colleges and universities lower their academic standards, they stand a better chance of graduating the requisite numbers. And if this tempting route is taken, the Completion Agenda fails because substandard credentials not only shortchange students, but also render the nation and its workforce less competitive in the international marketplace.

Paper prepared for the American Council on Education (ACE)