By David Shupe
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Extra resources for Accountability for Educational Results
Additionally, a program or the institution as a whole can define any set of defined expectations – for example, what students should have successfully demonstrated up to a given point – and know at any time where students collectively stand relative to these expectations. This organizational capability to review actual educational results, at any time, creates the capacity for an instructional program to directly respond to what students are and are not demonstrating. As collective student weaknesses and strengths become apparent, instruction can be modified, for example, repeating what is being missed or building on what is being shown.
D. Student-submitted survey data If tests are the first approach being adapted to address questions of educational results, surveys are the second. These are a well-known method, since opinion polls have become a regular part of what is reported in mass media, and a national industry has grown up to provide survey data. Within organizations, surveys are used to uncover the opinions of customers or the concerns of employees. There is one common use within academic institutions: course-ending student evaluations of teachers.
Presumably, if the average grade in a course or in a department or program were to show an increase over time, comparing, for example, this year’s average grade to that of five years ago, one might be tempted to say that this shows that students are learning more now than then – but almost no one, not even internally, would be inclined to draw this inference. Perhaps students are learning more, and perhaps such data might be evidence of this, but the same data, after all, could simply be evidence for the lowering of evaluation standards and therefore show ‘‘grade inflation’’ instead.
Accountability for Educational Results by David Shupe