Rubrics meeting quality assurance and improvement needs in the accreditation context

Publication Date11 December 2019
Date11 December 2019
AuthorJudy R. Wilkerson
SubjectEducation,Curriculum,instruction & assessment,Educational evaluation/assessment
Rubrics meeting quality assurance
and improvement needs in the
accreditation context
Judy R. Wilkerson
College of Education, Florida Gulf Coast University, Fort Myers,
Florida, USA
Purpose K-20 accreditation is contingent on having policies and procedures that provide evidence of
quality assurance (QA) and qualityimprovement (QI), viewed here as the rst of two conicting paradigms,
requiring concurrent expressions of excellence and need. Standardized summative assessments using the
traditional tabularrubric design (typically writing assessments) serve theQA purpose well while leaving QI
difcult to achieve. This is the second-related pair of conicting paradigms formative vs summative
assessment. The purpose of this studyis to illuminate these conicts, present a sample illustrative solution
and suggestthat both institutions and accreditationagencies implement policies resolvingthese conicts.
Design/methodology/approach This viewpointis based in part on an analysis of the content of many
rubrics,with several selected forpresentation herein. For K-12settings, the AdvancED accreditationstandards
(used in 70 countries) and a multistate writing rubric are discussed. For postsecondary, a segment of the
VALUE rubrics,used by a large number of postsecondaryinstitutions acrossthe USA, is presented. Examples
of potentialsolutions for both levelsare presented to clarify the problemand identify policy implications.
Findings This specic aspect of the QA/QI challenge is a solvable problem, and a solution is proposed
with the potentialto improve learning in the USA and other countries.
Originality/value Institutional personnel struggle with the conicts often not realizing the source of
their struggle. In this viewpoint,a new rubric format is suggested with the hope of initiating policy change
Keywords Quality assessment, Accountability, Assessment, Standards, Accreditation,
Quality assurance
Paper type Viewpoint
Education policy and practice in the United States as well as the world attends intensely to levels
of student achievement as measured by tests. In the United States, the problem has a large and
complex face: Our national data show essentially no improvement over a number of years [...]
(NAEP, 2014). Unlike countries with traditional reliance on tests and competitive performance,
such as China, South Korea, and France, in the United States our distinct political divisions result
in crosscutting tensions [...] Despite controversy about international tests, successful performing
countries share a national commitment to the learning of children and young adults, that has not
been evident as a consistent thread through the last few decades, and many use both formative
and summative assessments (Baker and Gordon, 2014, p. 1).
Viewpoint purpose
The above quote from the article, From the Assessment OF Education to the Assessment
FOR Education: Policy and Futures, sets the stage for this viewpoint in which I propose
greater focus on assessment FOR education. Assessment results are integrally tied to the
accreditation review process, which requires both quality assurance (QA) and quality
improvement (QI). Assessments typically used, however, do not provide for the necessary
Received25 April 2019
Revised30 August 2019
24October 2019
Accepted25 October 2019
QualityAssurance in Education
Vol.28 No. 1, 2020
pp. 19-32
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/QAE-04-2019-0045
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