Learning Standards and the Assessment of Quality in Higher Education: Contested Policy Trajectories
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AbstractThis book analyses accountability and quality policies relating to learning standards and examines their implications for assessment in higher education. Whilst primarily focusing on the Australian setting, this analysis is located within a broader frame of reference that includes the United Kingdom (UK), the United States of America (US), and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Across these settings, comparative measures of learning have been seen as a policy ‘solution’ to the problem of ‘proving quality’ in a globalised and increasingly competitive higher education market. Comparative measures of learning depend on the specification of learning standards. Learning standards attempt to articulate the capabilities expected of graduates, and students’ achievement of these is determined through the practices of assessment carried out within institutions. Quality policy, learning standards and assessment practices all intersect within the broader umbrella of accountability, with relevance to governments, higher education providers, employers, parents, and students. The findings reported in this book highlight a number of policy influences, including the rising demands for national and international comparative data on learning standards to compare quality and inform student choice in a globally competitive market.