Quantcast

Letter: Go beyond superficial to improve education

Published April 28, 2014 5:55 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The recent Utah Legislature's focus on giving academic institutions a letter grade for performance ("Bad grades" April 24) misses a main point of assessment: to make schools or university departments better for students and other stakeholders.

The University of Utah regularly assesses all 70 degree-granting departments and programs on a seven-year cycle. The assessment starts with a comprehensive self-study and involves both external reviewers who view a department in terms of national and international norms, and internal faculty reviewers who assess the department's performance in terms of local knowledge and realities. The assessment covers faculty, students, staff, curriculum, facilities, and resources.

Rather than assigning a single grade for a complex entity, the final assessment report identifies what the academic unit does well, and what it could do better. Detailed recommendations for improvement form the basis of a public document. And a memorandum of understanding records what actions are expected, who is responsible for taking such actions, and a timetable for those actions. Instead of assigning a superficial and often contentious grade A to F, we regularly and steadily improve education for our students.

David S. Chapman

Dean Emeritus, University of Utah Graduate School

USER COMMENTS
Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
comments powered by Disqus