(Pix Nebamun viewing his geese and cattle; British Museum, 2018)
We live in a word of accountability, whose laws are implemented not through the coercive police power of the state but rather by the constant and repetitive process of assessment. That assessment, in turn, constitutes a data driven self reflexive system that both monitors and imposes orthodoxy through the choices made with respect to those data and that analytics on which judgment is rendered and consequences felt.
Faculty have assumed an interesting place within these cultures of monitoring and data driven assessment. In one respect the metrics used for assessment have consequences for their own evaluation; simultaneously, these metrics are at the center of emerging cultures of the assessment of faculty handiwork--the effect of their interactions with students. What could be more neutral than data driven analytics--especially ones whose parameters are chosen by those on whom they are imposed. Assuming, of course, that there is real choice. And that, increasingly, may not be the case as regulators--whether public or private, increasingly use their authority to constrain and manage choices that can be made respecting the scope of assessment, its objectives and the objects of its analytics. that changes not merely the focus of the assessment-accountability exercise, the its purpose as well.
Whatever one thinks of these new approaches to accountability of the role of faculty to disseminate of knowledge to students; it has produced at least one benefit--the expansion of knowledge production to include assessment itself. This is especially the case in the context of legal education. The Winter 2018 issue of the Journal of Legal Education (JLE) takes an in-depth look at the revised ABA standards on assessment and learning outcomes. Links to the articles follow. Each is worth considering carefully.