The misguided drive to measure ‘learning outcomes’

Posted on March 6th, 2018

In this New York Times op-ed, Molly Worthen, an assistant professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, critiques the increasing emphasis on measuring and assessing learning outcomes in higher education. This push to ensure students graduate with job-ready skills “has fed a bureaucratic behemoth known as learning outcomes assessment,” Worthen says, and led to a growing for-profit assessment industry. Worthen argues, “If we describe college courses as mainly delivery mechanisms for skills to please a future employer…we oversimplify the intellectual complexity that makes a university education worthwhile in the first place.”