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Learning outcomes in higher education the topic of May 4 talk at U. of I.

Craig Chamberlain, Education Editor

Released 4/25/2007

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. —  The assessment of college knowledge – what students have learned during their time on campus – has been moved to the forefront in many discussions on the future of higher education.

Peter Ewell, recognized as a leading authority on the subject, will speak May 4 at the University of Illinois. His talk, “Assessing Learning Outcomes in Higher Education: Demands, Opportunities and Pitfalls,” is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. in the auditorium of the Beckman Institute, 405 N. Mathews Ave., Urbana.

Ewell will address the discussion surrounding the assessment issue, initiated by various parties with an interest in higher education, among them accrediting agencies, policy makers and U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings. Assessment was a central focus in the final report last fall from the Spellings-appointed Commission on the Future of Higher Education.

The talk, free and open to the public, is the second in a series sponsored by the newly created Forum for the Future of Public Education, a U. of I. initiative based in the College of Education.

Ewell is the vice-president of the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, a research and development center in Boulder, Colo. His work has focused on assessing the effectiveness of higher education institutions and on the learning outcomes of college.

According to the NCHEMS Web site, Ewell has consulted with more than 375 colleges and universities and 24 state systems of higher education, on topics including assessment, program review, enrollment management and student retention.