Thursday, May 21, 2009

Indicators rather than metrics?

One of the comments I heard at the Edinburgh Colloquium the other week was "As we move into a 'post module descriptor world' and leave over-specified learning outcomes behind...". Interesting comment and one that perhaps could be contextualised by the fact that Universities there went through the whole modular, credit accumulation, learning outcomes, assessment grid stuff years (over a decade now) ago. Similarly, the proposed new approach to Quality Enhancement (having decided against "Quality Assessment") summarised in this document (Indicators of Enhancement) from last November paints a very different picture to that which is in process elsewhere. At least there is a recognition that numerical indicators and tracking of details of outcomes, processes, etc, are all very well when you have nothing in place, but as time goes by their limitations can become quite apparent. So the argument is about developing a culture that embeds evaluation, review and to some extent hopes to encourage innovation.

"The indicators are not quantitative. They have been phrased and presented to avoid any sense of compliance with a checklist. They have also been developed in a context which recognises that supporting and enhancing learning in the twenty-first century is a difficult and challenging process. They recognise that the very nature of enhancing the student learning experience is extremely complex and unlikely to be able to be reflected in simplistic statistics or metrics which would be meaningful across a very diverse sector and student population. However, the areas which they cover might all respond to quantitative indicators should institutions (as some currently do) wish to develop key measures which are particularly appropriate to their own context, mission, and strategic aims and objectives."

No comments: