Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Academic Accreditation is Flawed

Academic accreditation in tertiary education amounts to the industry setting its own standards and then judging producers of higher education against those standards.  Perhaps this is appropriate when universities hire graduates of other universities as new faculty.

This model–the industry judging itself–is a poor way to determine the value of higher education.  Graduates, many saddled with large debts, in the humanities, the soft social sciences (excluding economics), education, and law face increasing difficulty finding good-paying jobs.  The educational standards universities set for themselves, by which they are in turn judged, too often fail to meet the requirements of potential employers.

Why not replace academic accrediting agencies with new accreditation bodies of consumers of higher education, namely, councils of potential employers?  Market-based accreditation would provide students, tuition-paying parents, and taxpayers supporting public institutions with real-cost benefit analysis of the value of degrees awarded by tertiary institutions.

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