To understand their children’s progress in school, reasonable parents would likely look at their report cards, ask them how things are going, or talk to their teachers. But, were they to evaluate their children’s education the way colleges and universities are evaluated, parents would instead be metaphorically digging through their children’s backpacks and assessing the quality of their pens and paper.

Accreditation — the critical system for assessing whether institutions qualify for federal financial aid — is too focused on inputs, such as faculty degrees and shared governance, and pays far too little attention to outcomes, such as graduation rates, job placement rates, and wage growth. This input-driven approach results in higher costs, as schools add complexity and features in order to meet accreditation standards. But it doesn’t protect students from enrolling in schools with low completion rates and weak return on investment.

As Congress looks to reauthorize the Higher Education Act, it has the power to change accreditation for the better.

Read the full article about basing college accreditation on outcomes by Alana Dunagan at RealClear Education.