The accreditation of education programs based upon student learning

Murray, Frank
University of Delaware,

The paper is a report of a three-year research effort to develop a system of higher education program accreditation. The system is based the teaching faculty’s evidence for student learning, validation of the measures of student learning, and a system of quality control that supports improvement of the program. Approximately 80 colleges and universities are engaged in the project with four having tested out the system. These programs write a research monograph that supports the claim that their graduates are competent, caring, and qualified professionals.

An unexpected finding emerged from the four sites. In each case, and by separate measures and approaches, there was a zero or negative correlation between the scores of clinical practice and the scores of every other aspect of the program (viz., grades in required course, standardized admissions tests, and standardized licensure tests). The finding was not due to attenuated correlations over restricted variance. The implications of the findings for training programs is discussed.

The new system of accreditation has been formally recognized by the Council of Higher Education Accreditation in the United States.