The Myths of Measurement and Meritocracy

The Myths of Measurement and Meritocracy

Why Accountability Metrics in Higher Education Are Unfair and Increase Inequality

J. M. Beach


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This book examines the idea of educational accountability in higher education, which has become a new secular gospel. But do accountability policies actually make colleges better? What if educational accountability tools don’t actually measure what they’re supposed to? What if accountability data isn’t valid, or worse, what if it’s meaningless? What if administrators don’t know how to use accountability tools or correctly analyze the problematic data these tools produce? What if we can’t measure, let alone accurately assess, what matters most with teaching or student learning. What if students don’t learn much in college? What if higher education was never designed to produce student learning? What if college doesn’t help most students, either personally or economically? What if higher education isn’t meritocratic, actually exacerbates inequality, and makes the lives of disadvantaged students even worse? This book will answer these questions with a wide, interdisciplinary range of the latest scientific research.


J. M. Beach:

J. M. Beach is the founder and director of 21st Century Literacy, a non-profit organization focused on literacy education and teacher training. He was a lecturer in higher education for over 20 years in the U.S., South Korea, and China.