The July 2 Inside Higher Ed reports on a report by the American Sociological Association:
The question of how to measure learning -- and if it can or should be measured at all - continues to stir debate. But despite skeptics' grumblings, sociology departments are increasingly using assessment methods to evaluate students' experiences, according to a new study by the American Sociological Association.And now, for the rest of the story...
Over all, the number of departments that perform some types of assessment of student learning rose by about 10 percent between 2001, the last year the study was conducted, and 2007.
"It's more and more generally considered a norm of higher education that you need to assess the outcomes of the students who go through colleges or universities," said Roberta Spalter-Roth, a co-author of the study and director of the American Sociological Association's research and development department. "On other hand, there appears to certainly be a group -- I'm not positive how substantial -- who think that assessment is an invasion into their professional autonomy, who feel that increasingly teachers have less control over what's happening in the university, who think it's a parody of social science research."