Discussion in 'Accreditation Discussions (RA, DETC, state approva' started by Michael Burgos, Sep 26, 2022.
I found it refreshing in some ways, although it's five years old.
The piece ignores the institutional basis and history of accreditation, attributing standard-setting to DoE. This is false. Standards are much more set by CHEA and the accreditors themselves. The DoE maintains a list of approved accreditors, but it doesn't do much (anything?) to set and apply standards.
None of the advantages/benefits of accreditation are taken seriously.
There didn't seem to be an alternate proposed.
But hey, I spent maybe two minutes with it, so perhaps I missed something.
FEE is a venerable institution with very good articles on some topics, but they're definitely on the cultural right with all the anti-university baggage that suggests. For example, they've published a number of pieces from people at Praxis, which I've written about before.
Personally, I found this article to be more thought-provoking in terms of the ideas proposed (another conservative-leaning association);
I'd imagine the one holding the keys is the de facto standard maker. Since the USDE can destroy an institution or accreditor with a wave of its hand, I'd imagine it's a little more complex than that. In any event, I think Hübner (a libertarian) proposed embracing the conventions of market-based innovation in lieu of traditional accreditation. He cited the article, "How to Revolutionize Your University? Maybe Start by Losing Your Accreditation" as an example.
The problem with handing this to the market is that the imbalance of information and power between the schools and the applicants is huge. It reminds me of the days of buying a car before the internet.
Isn't "the market" the reason why accreditation became a thing in the first place? There was nothing to stop degree mills from being a thing, nor from recognizing if the degree Mr. Smith has framed on his wall was legit or only worth being used as toilet paper.
Originally, yes, but not as it is today as the gatekeeper of federal financial aid.
That is an outstanding observation. I don't think, however, keeping it in hands of the state is better. Perhaps market-driven 'regulation' by consumer choices as with the car buying a business is possible.
For those who really can't abide a lack of federal oversight, even under this sort of system, OPM would surely have a list that they use for federal hiring and promotion, and if other organizations also used that list, then so be it.
The biggest problem with accreditation practices has already been identified by research literature. Everything else is a side debate, as far as I am concerned.
Quote: Although accreditation systems were implemented to ensure the quality of teaching and to encourage improvements, there are few studies discussing the link between external QA [quality assurance] systems and improved teaching and learning (Stensaker 2011; Rosa and Amaral 2012). Various authors identify a link between external QA and internal managerial and organisational processes obtaining an advantage in terms of strengthening; however, there is still little evidence about their real ability to impact on teaching and learning, which is ultimately the students’ direct and concrete experience (Westerheijden, Hulpiau, and Waetens 2007; Stensaker 2008; Stensaker 2014; Cardoso et al. 2016).
Leaving things "to the market" is often not the best way to ensure quality of any kind - you are just shifting the "gatekeeper" role. We've already seen this play out to a large degree with some of the for-profit colleges. No system is perfect. For the record I'm not against for-profit colleges at all, but the co-mingling of profit motive with some things creates credibility gaps. Not that the rest of the university system isn't engaged in similar ways at this point. :-(
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