Massachusetts higher ed board approves new way to evaluate student achievement at 29 public colleges
The Boston Glone
May 4, 2010
The state Board of Higher Education today approved a plan to overhaul the way public colleges and universities in Massachusetts measure and report student achievement in an effort to ensure that students from all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds are being served.
In meeting at Holyoke Community College, 11 of 12 board members voted for the plan, called the Vision Project, which Higher Education Commissioner Richard Freeland developed with the presidents of the state's 29 public colleges, universities, and community colleges. The goal, he said, is to push Massachusetts to become a national leader in public higher education and help drive the economic well-being of the state.
Under the plan, the state will issue an annual report documenting Massachusetts' standing in comparison with other states on a set of seven key academic achievement measures.
The measures are: college-going rates of high school graduates, college graduation and student-success rates, numbers of graduates in key areas of workforce needs such as nursing and engineering, student achievement on campus-level and national assessments of learning, progress in closing gaps in achievement between students from different demographic groups, level of research expenditures, and level of licensing income.
"People have asked me the question, 'Can we really set such high aspirational goals given the financial crisis of the state?' " Freeland said in a phone interview after the meeting. "My response has been, at times of financial difficulty, it becomes even more critical that public higher education aspire to excellence. The pathway to long-term economic strength for Massachusetts lies in public education."