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Edinboro University will represent U.S. during major international student learning assessment

200 graduating students to be surveyed this month

04/10/2012

EDINBORO, Pa. – The 34-nation Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development has selected Edinboro University as one of only 11 U.S. universities to participate in a feasibility study for an international assessment test of general skills.

Some 200 randomly selected Edinboro students – chosen from those expected to graduate in May – will take part in the survey, which could last up to two-and-a-half hours, starting Wednesday.

The project, which is expected to take more than two weeks to complete, is intended to compare college students world-wide in the areas of critical thinking, analytic reasoning, problem-solving and written communication. Participating Edinboro students will be measured against schools from Columbia, Egypt, Finland, South Korea, Kuwait, Mexico, Norway and Slovakia, as well as those from three U.S. states – Connecticut, Missouri and Pennsylvania.

Edinboro Interim President James D. Moran explained that international comparisons have gained considerable attention in the U.S., but up to this point the primary assessments have been tests that compared high school students in math and science.

“We also know that the ability to solve complex problems, to discern relevant from irrelevant information, and to critically analyze situations are essential learning outcomes expected of all students as they graduate from Edinboro,” Dr. Moran said.

To date, there is not an internationally recognized test that can effectively compare college students from multiple countries in multiple skills.

“Our participation in the early stages of this exciting project allows us to be in the forefront of the discussion on how to measure student learning around the globe,” said Dr. Alan Biel, Edinboro’s Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and Research, and Edinboro’s point person for this international effort.

Charles S. Lenth, Vice President for Policy Analysis and Academic Affairs for the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO), praised Edinboro for its efforts to participate in the international project. SHEEO is coordinating the U.S. participation in the program.

“It is clear that Edinboro has a highly competent and committed team already at work in the assessment of student learning,” Lenth said. “The university has much experience and expertise to share with other institutions and nations. Pennsylvania and the United States will help shape the next steps in cross-national assessment of student learning.”

Dr. Phil Ginnetti, Edinboro’s Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, said, “Representing the United States on this project is a distinct honor for Edinboro.”

Current funding for U.S. participation has come to Edinboro through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education to SHEEO. The U.S. involvement in the project has also been supported by the Hewlett and Lumina Foundations.