In July 2020, Next Generation Assessment (NGA) and AAC&U launched a series of “web bites” focused on the current state of assessment in higher education. Each installment in this multimedia series featured a blog post accompanied by a brief video conversation with its author(s). The series was developed as a collaboration among Tammie Cumming from Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, M. David Miller from the University of Florida, Gladys Palma de Schrynemakers from the City University of New York School of Labor and Urban Studies, and Terrel Rhodes from AAC&U. Titled “Next-Gen Assessment,” the series provided an opportunity for educators, assessment specialists, accreditors, and policymakers to openly discuss openly the latest issues and developments in assessment and accountability. Most of the web bites explored changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on the methods and practices being used to ensure the validity, reliability, and fairness of online assessments.
In the twenty-three web bites published between July 2020 and February 2022, Cumming and Miller engaged in conversation with experts from academic institutions, membership associations, foundations, and other organizations. For example, they discussed institutional effectiveness and accreditation in the age of COVID with Ted Mitchell, president of the American Council on Education. They discussed educational measurement and postsecondary research with Russell Cannon, senior program officer for postsecondary success for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. They also talked about international perspectives on assessment during COVID with Andreas Schleicher, director for the directorate of education and skills and special advisor on education policy for the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
"Next-Gen Assessment" also featured a special series of web-bite discussions about the effects of the pandemic on accreditation with leaders from the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, the Higher Learning Commission, the New England Commission of Higher Education, the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Each web bite provided valuable insights and perspectives on the accrediting agencies and their interactions with higher education institutions during the pandemic.
When Tammie, David, Gladys, and Terrel decided to start the series in July of 2020, none would have expected that it—or the pandemic—would continue for the next two years. Now, with the effects of the pandemic waning, NGA and AAC&U have decided to end “Next-Gen Assessment” as a multimedia series published on the AAC&U website. However, NGA will build on the success of the series at www.nextgenerationassessment.com, continuing to publish web bites that explore the latest changes and developments in higher education. This will include a second series of web bites featuring regional accreditors. CHEA recently added new standards that address diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and the new series will provide perspectives from CHEA leaders as well as leaders from each of the regional accrediting agencies on the growing work in DEI. Other web bits focused on issues of validity, reliability, and fairness in higher education assessment are under development and will soon be available.