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Educational Adequacy in the Twenty-First Century

These issues present a number of complex challenges in determining a benchmark for educational adequacy. Higher education is a complex endeavor. Outcomes are affected by many interconnected elements. Oversimplification that emphasizes the importance of some elements and ignores others will lead to skewed incentives and undermine the holistic nature of higher education. That said, the difficulties we face in grappling with such challenges should not become an excuse for failing to improve the higher education system and hold state and local governments accountable for their higher education policies and expenditures.

In setting out educational adequacy standards, practitioners and policymakers should not strive for perfection, but rather use the best available metrics and methods, with the expectation of continuous refinement and improvement as new information, data, and technologies become available. This approach should be focused on outcomes and afford local administrations the flexibility to determine the most appropriate set of inputs necessary to produce adequate outcomes. Economic self-sufficiency, at the program of study level, must have a central role in this practical approach to setting educational adequacy standards.



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