Avoiding a Tragedy of the Commons
Chapter 6: The Place of Assessment in the Redesign of the Nevada Post-secondary Education System
6. The place of assessment in the redesign of the Nevada postsecondary education system INTRODUCTION If a detailed analysis of CUNY revealed a hollowing out of the capacity to deliver undergraduate education, its negative consequences for quality of student learning presumably would have surfaced naturally if faculty and administrators had had the results of student learning benchmarks available to them. The case of CUNY involved declining enrollments and declining budgets. What can we learn about the possible role of assessment from a situation that presents the need for a post-secondary education system to respond to the demands placed upon it by economic growth and problems of access to post-secondary education created by growth in population? Nevada offered such a case for my colleagues and I to examine in 2002.63 A strategic plan requires: (a) an accurate assessment of the current system (Ewell, 1999); (b) the construction of a vision shared by the Regents, chancellor, presidents of institutions, state leaders (see Builder and Dewar, 1994); (c) the mission differentiation and governance system authorized to achieve the vision; and (d) the strategies agreed upon to achieve the specific goals in the plan (Heracleous, 1998). Such a plan is meant to serve as the blueprint guiding future policy making and specific decisions at all levels regarding, for example, where and when to establish new post-secondary institutions, where and when to establish new academic programs, and how best to assess quality. While the monograph, The Road Less Traveled (Benjamin et al., 2002), uses innovative...
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