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Assessment with Open Eyes: Pitfalls in Studying Student Outcomes


Terenzini, P. T. (1989). Assessment with Open Eyes: Pitfalls in Studying Student Outcomes. Journal of Higher Education, 60(6), 644–664.


This article presents information on the potential problems in the development of institution-wide assessment programs. The best colleges and universities are frequently thought to be those with high-ability and high-achieving students, more books in their library, more faculty with terminal degrees, lower student-faculty ratios, larger endowments and so on. Although a reasonable argument can be made that undergraduate program quality and resources invested are not independent, the increased emphasis on assessment has radically altered the nature of discussions of under graduate program quality. Increasingly, claims to quality must be based not on resources or processes, but on outcomes. The benefits to institutions and students of this reformulation of the issues are substantial. The article according to the author is not intended to discourage institutions from developing assessment programs. On the contrary, its purpose is twofold: first, to identify some of the serious conceptual, measurement, organizational, and political problems likely to be encountered in the process of designing and implementing an assessment program and second, by identifying some of the pitfalls, to help people who are involved in assessment to do it well.

Themes: College teachers, EVALUATION, Education & state, Higher Education, Students, United States, Universities & colleges