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The Inmates Running the Asylum?

accreditation procedures might be fully offset by greater efficiencies associated with increased price com- petition arising from greater information provided to the public).

The main problems with this model are a lack of consensus and practical issues. The qualifications framework and the certification alternatives require a consensus on what students should be learning as well as exams to measure learning or capabilities. Without widespread agreement on these issues, these proposals are impractical. We therefore largely support efforts to define a common core of knowledge that all students of an academic discipline should understand. The fact that Graduate Record Examina- tions and other tests are given in large numbers of disciplines makes us believe this problem could largely be overcome, but has not to this point because of inertia or opposition on the part of institutions.

TABLE 17

THE EFFECTS OF REPLACING ACCREDITATION WITH A CERTIFICATION OR QUALIFICATIONS FRAMEWORK

Define (Appropriate) Measures of Quality:

+

Certify Quality: Inform the Public:

+ +

Maintain independence/autonomy of colleges: Maintain diversity of institutions and missions:

+ =

Don’t suppress innovation by existing colleges: Don’t be a barrier to entry for new innovative colleges:

+/– +/–

Don’t impose unnecessary costs:

Indirect Costs (+), Direct costs (–)

Note: (+) represents an improvement in performance in this category, (–) represents a deterioration in performance in this category, and (=) represents no change in performance in this category.

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