This paper traces the history of two reform movements organized more than two decades ago to improve teaching and learning in U.S. colleges and universities: the teaching reform movement, led by the liberal philanthropies, and the accountability movement, led by the states and, later, the regional accreditors. The paper concludes that the teaching reform movement helped to dislodge research as the accepted center of academic life and helped to spread progressive education methods throughout academe. Both of these changes are consistent with continuing low levels of student effort and limited student learning in college. The accountability movement, by contrast, has had little impact thus far due to frequent changes in accountability and institutional assessment mechanisms, and the tendency of universities to comply only minimally with the demands of accreditors for increased accountability and institutional assessment.
December 1, 2009
Research and Occasional Papers Series (ROPS)
Steven Brint. (2009). THE ACADEMIC DEVOLUTION? Movements to Reform Teaching and Learning in US Colleges and Universities, 1985-2010. UC Berkeley: Center for Studies in Higher Education.