Quality is a multi-dimensional concept and embraces all functions and activities of higher education (academic programs, research, and community services) in all their features and components. Traditionally quality was a measure of resources and reputation. In recent years there has been a shift in emphasis to institutional best practices such as setting high expectations, providing involving settings, inclusive learning environments and forms of pedagogy that enhance student learning and development. The concept of student engagement is thus receiving increased attention globally as it is viewed as an important element in assessing and improving institutional effectiveness. Trend and longitudinal analyses, as employed in this study, allow an institution to monitor change or stability in performance over time. They assist in determining whether a certain policy or initiative prompted desirable change and in assessing the impact of improvement initiatives such as accreditation.
Over a decade ago, Barr and Tagg (1995) declared that a shift had occurred in higher education from an instruction paradigm to a learning paradigm. A central element in this new paradigm is learner-centered assessment. While a growing body of literature suggests that this approach to assessment is a best practice in higher education pedagogy, it is still unclear whether faculty members have embraced it fully. Using data from the 1993 and 2004 "National Study of Postsecondary Faculty", this study examines the extent to which faculty members employ learner-centered assessments in postsecondary classrooms and compares use of select assessments from 1993 to 2004. Findings show stable to increased use of some assessment techniques over the decade as well as differences by faculty gender, discipline, and institution type. Implications for faculty members, student learning, and institutional policy are discussed.
This paper explores a number of key issues that have been identified as being important in the identification and evaluation of best practice within the context of e-learning and virtual campuses. The "Promoting Best Practice in Virtual Campuses" (PBP-VC) project is a two year European Commission Education Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA) co-financed project that is aimed at providing a deeper understanding of the key issues and success factors underlying the implementation and sustainability of virtual campuses. The PBP-VC project team have been working with stakeholders from a number of large virtual campus projects across Europe in identifying and exploring key issues relating to best practice and sustainability.
During two decades of administration, a commonwealth-supported grant (Act 101) has enabled a private, four-year, Catholic-affiliated university in Pennsylvania to develop an effective set of practices that enable under-prepared, economically-disadvantaged students to develop successful academic strategies. A summary of evidence-based best practices and their outcomes is presented, along with narrative of how these practices are implemented in the program. These practices include assessments, counseling, and teaching approaches to facilitate student growth and independence in academic, social, personal, and other aspects that have a powerful impact on the student's adjustment to undergraduate campus life.