They graded every state accountability system in 15 categories including:
In 2008 and 2009, Education Sector conducted a comprehensive analysis of higher education accountability systems in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. We analyzed thousands of documents, Web sites, policies, and laws attempting to answer two questions:
1. What information do states collect on their higher education institutions?
2. How does the state use that information to improve its colleges and universities?
student learning outcomes, productivity, faculty scholarship, student engagement, affordability,
information states gather, governance, funding, public information, the ways states use information to hold institutions accountable...
To be clear, EdSector did not evaluate higher education outcomes, but rather the breadth, accuracy, and strength of their systems designed to hold institutions accountable for results.
Grades were based on a range of factors, including accuracy, timeliness, comparability, and breadth of information. States received more credit for information reported consistently by all institutions than for information reported idiosyncratically by only a few.
Because accountability must be transparent to be meaningful, we considered only publicly available information. Each state was given the chance to comment on our reviews, and about half took the opportunity to point out things we had missed, comment on our findings, or ask questions about our analysis.
The report's main page is available here. It has a larger version of the interactive map and links to a summary document of our grading system and the grades in each of our categories, individual summaries for every state, and separate reports for each of our 15 categories. We released a report in December highlighting best practices and explaining why state accountability systems matter.