Wednesday, November 15, 2006

First on the Docket: Accreditation

Original Article - Accreditaion may be the first step taken by US DOE on hihger ed.

Let's give public alternatives by accrediting for-profit with objective measurements.
In light of the recent public call for accountability and the hardship for traditional institution to adopt changes. An alternative is to give public choices and let the public decide.

The alternative accreditation can based on measurable outcomes and since the outcome is what employer care about, students came out of these accreditaion can have direct employ perspectives. And this could potentially be the expectation of a lot of students and parents. The two pieces of information required from these institutions will be the % of graduates that pass the professional test and the percent of students that graduates.

The idea behind these two measurements are:
  1. It gives students and parents an expectable value - % of graduates that can pass the professional test and, therefore, an expected job offering.
  2. It hold the students responsible to be able to fall inside the % of students who do graduate.
It is important to realized that what we really should be interested in is the quality of the graduates and is not the quantity of the graduates. The % of students graduate serves the purpose of infoming students and parents the possiblity they will graduate. As point out by Dr. Abdul-Rahim Ahmad, commenting the article 'RateMyProfessors: Hidden Camera Edition', the majority of the reponsibility of graduating is in the hand of the students. The quality of institution is warranted by the % that passing the certificates, it is student's responsibility to advanced into the group that will graduate.

The certificate exam may have different levels, for BS and BA certificates, it can includes items that measuring the general education.

With this approach, traditional institutions have no reason to object. For one, it does not affect their status and practice. For two, it is also them that call for strick regulation on for-profit instituttions. For for-profit institutions, they got alternatives to the traditional accreditation approaches. They can decide on which way is a best fit to their mission. For policy makers, they answered to public's call for quality and effectiveness by leveling the playground and let the most effective and the most effecient institutions win.

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