The Tyranny of Metrics

If you haven't read Jerry Muller's The Tyrannny of Metrics yet, you should. (Article is at:; Book is at: Muller isn't opposed to assessment, accreditation, or meaningful data--in fact, he's quite the opposite. The premise for his argument stems from when he was asked to complete a self-assessment of the history department at Catholic University while chair. He found the exercise useful (a win for us assessment professionals) but was bothered by being asked to spend time adding more statistics just to appear rigorous. From those requests, he suggests "metric fixation, which seems immune to evidence that it frequently doesn't work, has elements of a cult." What do you think about Muller's claim? Are we too focused on metrics in higher education? What could we do instead that would allow us to better our own institutions, prepare students to be successful, and still meet the demands of accreditors and lawmakers?

Will MillerComment