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The past two decades has seen a rising tide of criticism of American universities. This criticism is expressed in national reports, voter initiatives, legislative reports, and by employers and accrediting agencies who have concluded that there is “a crisis of educational quality in our nation's colleges and universities” (Gardiner 1998, 71–88) and that “a disturbing and dangerous mismatch exists between what American society needs from higher education and what it is receiving” (Wingspread Group on Higher Education 1993). From such criticisms, the assessment movement was born (see, for example, Diamond 1998; Palomba and Banta 1999; Allen 2004).


This article was originally published in Political Science and Politics, volume 37, issue 4, in 2004. DOI: 10.1017/S1049096504045305

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Cambridge University Press



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