Is Your Psychology 102 Course Any Good?

Here are 22 ways to measure quality — but some of these measures have quality issues of their own.

December 12, 2010

In The Chronicle's "Measuring Stick" series this year, we have looked at debates about how to gauge the quality of departments or entire universities. In this final week, we are looking at the individual course, higher education's basic component.

We have sketched 22 potentially useful ways to assess a course's quality. Some of them are commonplace, and some are just emerging. We focus on one section of Psychology 102 at an imaginary university. For each of the 22 measures, the table below explains why it might matter; how easy it typically is for the public to find this kind of information about a course; and the potential limits and pitfalls of using the method.

Chronicle of Higher Education

* Information availability is rated in four categories: HIGH: This information can often be found on c.v.'s and syllabi on colleges' Web sites.; MEDIUM: This information is less often available on Web sites.; LOW: If you call the department chair and the chair is in a candid mood, you might learn about this.; ZERO: Except in rare cases, no one compiles this information.

Source: Chronicle analysis by David Glenn