From Information to Action: Revamping Higher Education Accountability Systems

August 14, 2011

Public colleges and universities, which educate the vast majority of the nation’s students, are an important part of states’ economic competitiveness efforts. These institutions face a number of pressures that will demand increased productivity and a data driven investment strategy moving forward.

Increasing productivity in higher education will depend in part on building strong accountability systems that move away from the ones primarily in use today, which tend to emphasize inputs over outcomes and the collection and reporting of data as opposed to using the information in decision-making.

As part of Complete to Compete, this report recommends that states should include efficiency and effectiveness metrics in their accountability systems to help answer four key policy questions:

  • To what extent are public higher education institutions meeting the state’s need for an educated workforce and supporting progress toward longer term economic goals?
  • How many students at public institutions are graduating relative to total enrollment?
  • What is the return on states’ and students’ investment in public institutions in terms of completed certificates and degrees?
  • How can public institutions demonstrate that efficiency gains are being achieved without sacrificing student learning?

Governors can use the metrics and best practices identified in the report to guide their agendas for higher education.

SOURCE: National Governors Association

Download the Report