To test the theory of an interdependent and intertwined synergistic relationship of an education society, the economics of a community and the overall economy, ANOVA, correlation analysis, and Regression Modeling analysis was applied. This paper is designed to frame the discussion about approaches states can use to build better models to connect public information about the economics of higher education along with state-level planning and public policy for higher education.
Our study will focus on the effects of graduation rate on the Gross State Product (GSP). Over the past decade, accountability pressure in education is at the forefront on all levels. At the K-12 standards movement, buttressed by the No Child Left Behind legislation, which created a standards-assessment based paradigm to improve student academic performance to reduce achievement gaps between racial and economic groups. Despite many bumps in the road, the momentum from the K-12 accountability model has increased expectations for an analogous approached in higher education (Assessment, Accountability and Productivity: Building Models to Connect Learning Assessments with Public Accountability Structures in higher Education, p. 1; with Firestone Accountability Metrics question and answer). Burke and Modaressi1 (2000) present us one of these approaches in higher education through the example of performance funding which is believed to be only one aspect of the series of effort made by state to ensure accountability for campus performance.
Though a confluence exists among political, economic, and demographic trends, a need is apparent for better state-level public information about higher education performance (http://www.aft.org/pubs-reports/higher_ed/accountability, Sept. 18, 2004). However, the relationship between states and public colleges and universities is symbiotic: each depends on the other for survival. State governments and policymakers play a critical role in financing higher education, while higher education institutions educate state residents and improve local economies (Weerts, 1999, p.1).
This paper is a step toward determining an accountability metric for higher education appropriations. We will first present a literature review on the key issues of accountability and measurement of institutional performance in higher education and on the theories that will be used in our essay. Then, we will focus on introducing and defining variables and suggest existing relationships among them. Finally, we will offer an analysis through the facts, theories and variables presented.
Major Stakeholders: State Politics
The major stakeholders in higher education reform during the 1990s have been state legislatures, state chancellors and state agencies, governors, and higher education institutions (Blackwell & Ciston, 1998). At the beginning of the 21st century, accountability of tax dollars provided to institutions of higher education is ever increasing within two perspectives: the proper use of the allocated funds and the follow up of the performance rate (Alexander2, 2000 and Burke and Modaressi, 2000)
In the 1990s, higher education reform was guided by economic values - competition, productivity, and efficiency - at a level it had never reached before. This