Panel to Give Colleges 'Gentle Shove' Toward Testing

Federal commission wants institutions to prove they are doing a good job

The chairman of the federal Commission on the Future of Higher Education says it will not propose mandatory testing of college students but will urge colleges and accrediting agencies to voluntarily adopt assessments of student learning, and will recommend two tests.

"There is no movement, no intent, no expectation of a mandated test at the federal level," the chairman, Charles Miller, wrote in an e-mail message sent to his fellow commission members in March.

With college