By David Shupe

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The purpose is to track performance and continuous quality improvement relative to organizational goals. They offer templates for ‘‘dashboards’’ and ‘‘scorecards’’ for academic institutions to adopt and adapt, some of these, are nearly identical to those used in non-academic organizations. Some individual colleges and universities having such a program now compete to earn the Baldridge Award. In accreditation, the clearest adaptation of this model is in the North Central Association Higher Learning Commission’s creation of the Academic Quality Improvement Process (AQIP) as a distinct alternative to the usual accreditation process.

However, these tests are not something that an institution itself does. The use of standardized tests by academic institutions in order to provide data on its educational results constitutes a different use of tests than those that have just been described. In this case, standardized tests are purchased by and administered by the institution to all or some of its students. Theoretically, a college or university could require students to pass a specific test in order to graduate, but nearly all are reluctant to do this.

The same approach could be used to challenge students who are doing well by inviting them to participate in additional learning activities. Moreover, advisors could see noteworthy improvement (or not) over time in any area of achievement. ). An academic institution could engage students in the creation of this achievement record, not by having students add artifacts (as with portfolios) but by providing opportunities for students to demonstrate growth in their capabilities. The student, who has electronic access in real time, knows how well he or she is doing according to the expected outcomes and academic/ professional standards – thus, seeing the development of that achievement record as it grows over the time that he or she is at the institution.

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