Revisiting Outcomes Assessment in Higher Education
by Peter Hernon, Robert E. Dugan, Candy Schwartz
January 2006, 472pp, 6x9
1 volume, Libraries Unlimited

Paperback: 978-1-59158-276-2
$55, £41, 46€, A79

The perfect companion to Hernon and Dugan’s 2004 Outcomes Assessment in Higher Education.

Revisiting Outcomes Assessment in Higher Education complements rather than updates Hernon and Dugan’s 2004 Outcomes Assessment in Higher Education. As with its predecessor, it offers a cross-campus diversity of voices: contributors hail from various segments of higher education, including officers of institutional accreditation organizations, an academic vice president, academic deans, a higher education consultant, faculty members, and librarians. Individually, they shed light on how their corner of the higher education universe views, facilitates, and substantiates outcomes assessment. Together, they document what is known about outcomes assessment in the middle of the first decade of the new century, as institutions and their programs take ever firmer steps from anecdotal evidence to more rigorous diagnosis and reporting.

The current interest in outcomes assessment represents a major shift in recent decades in attitudes about evaluating education. Outcomes assessment deals not only with assessment, but with accountability, usually in terms of accomplishing goals defined as desirable by the institution in question. It questions the results of educational processes, and focuses the argument on what students, faculty, and administrators demonstrably do. Revisiting Outcomes Assessment in Higher Education complements rather than updates Hernon and Dugan’s 2004 Outcomes Assessment in Higher Education. As with its predecessor, it offers a cross-campus diversity of voices: contributors hail from various segments of higher education, including officers of institutional accreditation organizations, an academic vice president, academic deans, a higher education consultant, faculty members, and librarians. Individually, they shed light on how their corner of the higher education universe views, facilitates, and substantiates outcomes assessment. Together, they document what is known about outcomes assessment in the middle of the first decade of the new century, as institutions and their programs take ever-firmer steps from anecdotal evidence to more rigorous diagnosis and reporting. For faculty, administrators, and librarians at all academic institutions; accreditation organizations and associations, including program accreditors; program officials in national associations; and other stakeholders, including members of state and other governments wanting to see what academe is doing to link accountability with continuous quality improvement.

Reviews

"Over the last decade, the trend in outcomes assessment has shifted clearly into the world of higher education, and as a result, many colleges and universities are struggling to define and measure institutionally specific learning outcomes. Unfortunately, until recently few road maps existed to guide institutions in this process. However, the authors of this book have produced a text that, together with Outcomes Assessment in Higher Education (2004), provides a rich overview of what is currently known about outcomes assessment. In particular, the authors here provide a variety of cross-disciplinary perspectives from officers of accrediting organizations, academic vice presidents, deans, librarians, and faculty members, affording numerous examples of higher order outcomes as well as the processes that generated them. More importantly, the authors begin their treatise with a framework for outcomes processes so that readers have a solid theoretical framework for the multiple perspectives that follow. They end with a discussion of the future directions in outcomes assessment, including a research agenda for the future. This book is a must read for those interested in linking accountability with continuous process improvement. Highly recommended. Researchers, faculty, and practitioners."—Choice, October 1, 2006
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