Accreditation may be tipping point in re-authorization of the Higher Education Act

A newly released Senate white paper details issues with the process that many higher education institutions go through for accreditation.

In the paper, the question on how to improve accreditation for post-secondary schools is addressed, but it is done so to question if schools are properly preparing their students for the workforce.

As mentioned in the paper, a study produced by two professors from the University of Virginia and New York University shows that just 36% of students demonstrated “any significant improvement in learning over the course of their four years in college.”

The study also shows that many college students lack basic literacy skills, critical thinking ability, and cannot discern “if their car has enough gasoline to get to the next gas station.”

What may be worse is that colleges are graduating students who are not ready for the workforce. Many business leaders surveyed said that “new workforce entrants with a four-year college degree are ‘deficient’ in writing, as basic skill.”

So it seems that the report is really asking if the accreditation process needs to change since some students aren’t being properly educated and trained? Some of the information included in the white paper is critical and warranted, but it is tough to discern a student’s ability to learn based solely off of test scores and surveys.

On the other hand, there should be some type of way to judge colleges and universities on how well their students are retaining information once they graduate. For that reason, properly judging and questioning the accreditation process is just and deserves proper scrutiny if our future workforce is in jeopardy due to the lack of academic institutional control.


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