College officials want assessment in learning

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Kansas higher education officials have sought an annual assessment of student learning in three areas, but a first attempt by schools produced a wide variety of assessment systems.

The assessment has provided officials with information about how much students are learning in school in math, communication and critical thinking, the Lawrence Journal-World reported. However, Kansas universities used six different assessment systems to measure students’ knowledge, while community and technical colleges used eight.

Kansas State University measured math by using the number of students who completed algebra with a grade of C or higher. But Emporia State University opted to use exams, called the College Assessment of Academic Proficiency, to gauge students’ aptitude in math and writing.

Kansas Board of Regents member Robba Moran said it makes sense for schools to use different assessments, because the schools have different missions and student bodies. She said it would be helpful though to have more uniformity so policymakers can understand more of how much students are learning.

She said she hoped the first report will provide discussion on how to improve future reports.

The Kansas Board of Regents is expected to discuss the results later this month.

According to Moran, the group wanted the assessment to “make sure we have graduates who have the skills they need.”

Nationally, college officials are trying to figure out how best to measure learning outcomes as a way to improve education and increase accountability on the school’s part.

Daniel Hurley is the associate vice president for government relations and state policy with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.

Hurley said there is a “continued strong need for the higher education community to do a better job of measuring specific learning outcomes.”

 

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