Assurance of Learning and Accreditations Through Assessment in Business Schools

Assurance of Learning and Accreditations Through Assessment in Business Schools

Mounir Kehal (Higher Colleges of Technology, UAE)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5936-8.ch003
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The use of web-based technologies in academic institutions for their diverse practices has been widespread in colleges and universities for several decades. These applications include surveying stakeholders, assessing classes, reporting on faculty development, and assurance of learning data to mention a few. Further advances have led to the integration of applications that not only enable the sharing of knowledge, but which also support the reporting requirements necessary to obtain and retain accreditation; likewise satisfy the supply of intellectual capital to the employment marketplace. In this chapter, the authors aim to portray relationship between assurance of learning and assessment at large with real life examples and approaches.
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Many articles related to the assurance of learning (AoL) standards of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International have appeared in contemporary issues of Journal of Education for Business (e.g., Barnett, Dasher, & Nicholson, 2004; Black & Duhon, 2003; Marshall, 2007; Martell, 2007; Pringle & Michel, 2007; Pritchard, Potter, & Saccucci, 2004). These articles promote the importance of the matter to business educators. Active engagement in a program of assessing student learning assists business educators in assuring that purported knowledge is taught and that essential skills are resulting from the business curriculum. In addition, school assessment programs designed to assess student learning are needed to satisfy the standards of various accrediting bodies, such as the AACSB. The organizational aim for accountability in higher education has been building over the past many decades (Black & Duhon, 2003). Attempts by governments and university governing boards in the 1970s to hold higher education accountable for the output of their programs often took the form of budgets and program reviews (Folger, 1977). These early efforts to assess learning focused on the structure of the curriculum and resource allocation rather than on actual student performance. Subsequently, critics of higher education in the 1980s pressed regional accrediting bodies into requiring accredited programs to demonstrate predefined learning outcomes or also referred to as learning goals. Numerous studies, such as the “A Nation at Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform” (National Commission on Excellent in Education, 1983), pointed to the worsening of higher education and eventually led the U.S. Department of Education in 1988 to require federally approved accrediting bodies to include assessment as part of their postsecondary accreditation standards (Apostolou, 1999). In addition, state public university systems in Tennessee, California, and Georgia require their institutions to prepare assessment plans for major degree programs that measure student performance rather than the allocation of resources (Herring & Izard, 1992; Stivers, Campbell, & Hermanson, 2000). The AACSB had recently proposed a business school framework, as outlined in figure 1 below.

Figure 1.

Business School framework, as proposed by AACSB International


Key Terms in this Chapter

AACSB International: Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, also known as AACSB International, is an American professional organization. AACSB was founded in 1916 to accredit schools of business. It is a membership organization; not all its member institutions are accredited. It is viewed as one of the leading standards for business school quality in academia. Currently, AACSB International is pursuing ISO 9001 Certification to strengthen its service to global business education community.

Continuous Improvement: Ongoing and perpetual effort to improve academic offering of programs, conduct of research and consultancy activities, and modus operandi at large in symbiosis with the business school’s mission.

E-Assessment: Electronic assessment, also known as e-assessment, online assessment, computer assisted/mediated assessment and computer-based assessment, is the use of information technology in numerous arrangements of assessment such as educational assessment to evaluate and/or gather data about the academic performance of an individual or a team.

Business School: Higher educational institution in which students study subjects relating to business and commerce, such as economics, finance, management, Marketing, Accounting, to name a few. Normally faculty members conduct scholarly activities alongside such thematic areas of business and management.

Learning Outcome: Statement that describes significant and essential learning that learners have achieved or will achieve, and can reliably demonstrate at the end of a course or program. Learning outcomes would pinpoint what a learner will know and be able to do by the end of a course or program.

Accreditations: The act or process of formally recognizing an institution as having a precise status or being qualified to accomplish a specific scholarly activity.

Assurance of Learning: Assurance of learning (AoL) involves a set of AACSB standards that focus primarily on the quality of the curriculum and managing learning outcomes for the continuous improvement of business schools. It encompasses not just assessment but what is involved in the processes and procedures before and after assessment is conducted. AACSB places a great emphasis on the assessment of students learning, stating an important need for the schools to provide “hard evidence” those students are achieving the learning goals that form the basis of the curriculum and its ongoing improvement in liaison with the missions of such schools.

Curriculum Management: Includes approaches, resources, tools, and processes for academic administrators, faculty and staff to initiate or improve the current or future academic offering of the institution.

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