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Universities to Measure Student Learning

IOWA CITY, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28)--Next month, all three Iowa public universities will begin collecting new data for state lawmakers.

Its all part of an effort to improve the quality of a college education.

In less than three weeks, fall semester begins at the University of Iowa, and it's not just the students that will be taking down notes.

"We're starting to collect information on what faculty are doing in their classes starting this September, said University of Iowa associate provost for undergraduate education Beth Ingram.

The new law requires all three public universities to report to the legislature how they improve teaching methods.

"This September, the law will only affect classes with 300 students or more. By 2014 that moves up to 200 students and by 2015 it will affect classes with 100 students and more.

But it's something UI faculty say they already do.

Professors usually give students the chance to evaluate their approaches to teaching.

"What's new is that we're reporting on what we're doing to our board of regents and then there are going to be reporting to the legislature, said Ingram.

Some say student feedback isn't the most reliable source on how a professor is doing.

"I feel there's so much feedback they probably feel like some of it is probably biased if a student doesnt like the teacher so I don't think it really affects it that much, said UI senior Megan Millinowisch.

Still others have hope.

"If they really do listen to the students and then to the dean and I guess the government, yeah I really do hope that this would work, said UI junior Bailey Cole.

By 2015, the law could affect more than a thousand classes.

The university plans to allow departments to share collected information with each other in an effort to improve student learning.
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