as a result of quantitative productivity measurements. These could be based on extant accreditation systems, on the methods of academic audit being used effectively in Tennessee and certain overseas venues, and on the other quality-reviewing initiatives now being conducted at the state level (see Massy, Graham, and Short, 2007). All such methods can and should make use of the growing body of quality measures that are developing. Whatever the approach, however, its usefulness for achieving the goals of this report will depend upon full transparency, which is not always maintained in the existing systems.
We believe the groundwork exists for implementing effective quality monitoring, and that a committee (that, beyond accreditors, might include representation from governors and state legislators, Congress, state governing boards, consumer advocacy groups, and college guidebook publishers) could usefully review external quality assessment, with specific reference to the contents of this report, and make recommendations about the way forward.
Recommendation (11): A neutral entity, with representation from but not dominated or controlled by the country’s existing higher education quality assurance bodies, should be charged with reviewing the state of education quality assessment in the United States and recommending an approach to assure that quantitative productivity measurement does not result in quality erosion.
This is an important recommendation: the time is right for an overarching impartial review. Failing such a review, the development of badly needed improvement in the quantitative dimension of productivity could lead to unintended negative outcomes.