Originally published: Education Dive | By Tara García Mathewson | Nov 13, 2015

Dive Brief

Silicon Valley education consultants Paul Freedman and Michael B. Horn from Entangled Solutions have designed a quality assurance model they say can be used to reform the accreditation system in higher ed, though it was first designed for alternative providers applying for the Education Department’s experimental sites program.

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports the model evaluates institutions based on student feedback, tests of student learning, and measurements of how schools impact student earnings and employment outcomes.

Horn said the model, which will be more expensive for institutions, could also take into account value-added measures relating to social-emotional impact that some colleges may hope to influence as part of the education process.

Dive Insight

An explicitly outcomes-focused accreditation model could appeal to Congress and the Department of Education which have argued accreditors have not required high enough quality from institutions.

The Chronicle of Higher Education reports, however, that Paul L. Gaston, author of Higher Education Accreditation: How It’s Changing, Why It must, was not impressed with the model, saying it is not as innovative as one might think because accreditors are already significantly more outcomes-focused than they were a decade ago.

A change to accreditation is bound to come with reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. In the meantime, President Obama announced new requirements for accreditors just last week with an eye on student outcomes.