Running head: HISTORY OF QUALITY REVIEW 1 History of Quality Review Rena Takushi HMP 862: Quality Assurance and Accountability October 14, 2012
HISTORY OF QUALITY REVIEW 2 Introduction Quality review of higher education in the United States requires the understanding of pastand current conditions. Presently, more than 8,200 higher education institutions and 20,400programs are accredited by the United States and/or the United States Department of Education(Council for Higher Education Accreditation, 2012). The states in the U.S. play a direct role tofund and govern higher education, while the federal government, on the other hand, plays anindirect role in quality assurance (Ewell, 2007). This paper aims to highlight the history ofquality review in the United States from 1965 to the present to better understand the reasons whyhigher education is decentralized, diverse, and complex. Pre-Quality (1965 – 1982) The Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1965 provided students the benefit of going tocollege through grants and low-interest rate loans (Ewell, 2007). Additionally, HEA provided thefederal government an opportunity for states to be “gatekeepers” of administering college fundswhile ensuring a degree of institutional integrity and credibility (Ewell, 2007, p. 121). Thepassage of the Higher Education Act of 1965 contributed to the increase of access and efficiencyto higher education among all students. During this time period, the primary task of the stateswas to: make sure that federal funds were spent efficiently and that all students were providedequal access to the colleges and universities. Higher education was viewed as a public utilitymodel and addressed quality in the form of establishing admissions tests scores. While largefinancial resources were diverted to higher education institutions, minimal attention wasfocusedon teaching or learning outcomes (Ewell, 2007). In summary, the affordability andaccessibility to higher education increased through expanded enrollment rates of diverse race andethnic student populations during this time.
HISTORY OF QUALITY REVIEW 3 Quality I (1983-1991) During this time period, a flat line of enrollment rates and the desire for increased qualitymeasures emerged as the notion that higher education could serve as the vehicle towardseconomic development, thus positioning the purpose of higher education for the greater good(Ewell, 2007). Several reports were released to shift higher education towards improved quality.A report calledA Nation at Risk (USDOE, 1983) necessitated improved quality in elementary andsecondary education. Other reports such asInvolvement in Learning and Integrity(NIE, 1984) inthe College Curriculum (AAC, 1985) contended that learning assessments were required totransform and improve the teacher-learning process. While this time period did not respond to aparticular problem as in the pre-quality time period, a shift towards standardized achievementtest and assessments were developed to make internal reform and improvements to increaseaccountability (Ewell, 2007). Planned proposals included: student-learning outcomes, evidence-based practices to reach student outcomes, create infrastructure to improve curriculum andpedagogy, and prepare assessment report to the public. The benefit of developing assessmentmechanisms and reports resulted in additional funding to assist reform efforts. Naturally, highereducation became “institution-centered” through administrative compliance, assessmentoperations, and uneven development (Ewell, 2007). Ewell (2007) described uneven developmentas separating assessment from academic core. Most prestigious institutions at that time resistedto the shift for academic improvement and quality assessment. Performance Measures (1992-1999) During the decade of the nineties, states faced major cuts that impacted funds for highereducation, which shifted the concept of higher education for the public good to that of publicenterprise (Ewell, 2007). Tax funds were primarily targeted for health care and elementary
HISTORY OF QUALITY REVIEW 4education purposes and higher education therefore used performance measures as a way todemonstrate cost-effectiveness (Ewell, 2007). Higher education evolved to a “new publicmanagement” approach that used measureable indicators such as, completion of degree, cost perunit of output, employment rates, social equity, and meeting the demands of employers‟ needs(Ewell, 2007, p. 128). This type of approach is seen today with the Elementary and SecondaryEducation Act flexibility waiver where the Hawaii State Department of Education proposedindicator-based performance with incentives for schools statewide (HIDOE, 2012). At this time,the reauthorization of HEA of 1994 required states to examine the effectiveness of post-secondary access, factors influencing cost of college, impact on HEA student aid programs andpost-secondary distance education (Stedman, 2002). These new approaches to include statisticalanalysis on performance minimally addressed quality of teaching (Ewell, 2007). Quality II (2000-present) In 2001, the education budget faced sharp declines and as a result, states had lessdiscretionary funds to improve or monitor quality indicators in higher education, thus tuition andfees increased dramatically (Ewell, 2007). The federal government added pressure to accreditingorganizations for standards of learning and separated the compliance role of government to thatof promoting academic freedom in allowing institutions to select their own quality issues (Ewell,2007; Eaton, 2011). Other changes included the training of peer-reviewers, emphasis onteaching-learning process to promote higher engagement at school, and the accessibility ofreports and evaluations highlighting strengths and areas of improvements to increase publicawareness (Ewell, 2007). The trends in current times include the continuation of accreditationand further examination of building evidence-based practices (Ewell, 2007). Conclusion
HISTORY OF QUALITY REVIEW 5 This paper briefly highlighted four historical periods of quality review in the UnitedStates to better understand how higher education evolved in becoming decentralized, diverse,and complex. According to Ewell (2007), higher education in the U.S. evolved through phases oftime starting with Pre-Quality, 1965-1982 (public utility model), Quality, 1983-1991 (publicgood), Performance Measures, 1992-1999 (public enterprise), and with the current Quality II,2000-present that is moving towards building a culture of evidence-based practice. The U.S.aims to improve teaching-learning process; however, due to massive budget cuts in education inthe past two decades, the future of higher education remains unclear. The most promisingpractice of higher education in the U.S. is quality assurance of the accreditation process thatprovides comfort, confidence, and security that standards, assessments, and evaluations are thenecessary means to addressing quality education for students.
HISTORY OF QUALITY REVIEW 6 ReferencesAssociation of American Colleges. (1985). Integrity in the college curriculum: A report to the academic community.Washington, DC: Association of American Colleges.Council for Higher Education Accreditation. (2012). Database of institutions and programs accredited by recognized United States accrediting organizations. Retrieved from: http://www.chea.org/search/default.aspEaton, J. S. (2012). The future of accreditation. Planning for Higher Education, 40, 3: 8-15.Eaton, J. S. (2011). U.S. accreditation: Meeting the challenges of accountability and student achievement.Evaluation in Higher Education, 5, 1: 1-20.Ewell, P. T. (2007). The „quality game‟: External review and institutional reaction over three decades in the United States. In Westerheijden, D. F., Stensaker, B., & Rosa, M. J. (2007). Quality assurance in higher education. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer.Hawaii State Department of Education. (2012). Hawaii files ESEA flexibility application with U. S. department of education today. Retrieved from: http://lilinote.k12.hi.us/STATE/COMM/DOEPRESS.NSF/a1d7af052e94dd120a2561f70 00a037c/8e27c7789f18b6380a257a72001040d7?OpenDocumentNational Institute of Education. (1984). Involvement in learning: Realizing the potential of American higher education. U.S. Government Printing Office.Stedman, J.B. (2002). Higher education act: Reauthorization status and issues. Retrieved from: http://www.policyalmanac.org/education/archive/crs_higher_education.shtmlUnited States Department of Education. (1983). A nation at risk: The imperative for educational reform. Retrieved from: http://datacenter.spps.org/uploads/SOTW_A_Nation_at_Risk_1983.pdf