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College Accountability Dashboard Debuts

The Minnesota state college system unveiled on Tuesday its new Accountability Dashboard. The service is based on a Web site that displays a series of measures—tuition rates, graduates’ employment rates, condition of facilities—that use speedometer-type gauges to show exactly how the Minnesota system and each of its individual colleges is performing.

The dashboard makes already-available information about institutional performance easy to access by the public. Yet it’s not clear that the system will prove to be the best solution, Richard Garrett, a senior research analyst with Eduventures, an industry consulting company, told The Chronicle. American colleges appear to be pursuing a “patchwork of measures and metrics and benchmarks” that allow for some comparisons between institutions, he said. But the higher­-education system is so fragmented that tools such as the dashboard can give only partial pictures.

What do you think? Is this a step forward for higher education accountability? Or is it window dressing?

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