Higher education accreditation agencies play an important role in setting expectations for student learning-outcomes assessment. As this December 14 article from Insidehighered.com makes clear, the U.S. Department of Education can exert pressure on regional accrediting agencies as one way to force colleges and universities to extend and standardize their assessment efforts. Next week, NACIQI - the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity, which advises the Secretary of Education and oversees the accrediting agencies - will be meeting in Washington. As Insidehighered.com points out,

In its last several meetings, dating to late 2006, the advisory panel has aggressively challenged accreditors to insist - arguably as never before - that colleges measure how well their students learn, and threatened to rebuke agencies that are perceived as failing to hold member colleges accountable enough, and to set minimum levels of quality.

Looks like this will be an important meeting to watch.

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