The assessment of educational gains is a crucial issue in higher education throughout the United States. National interest in this topic is growing rapidly. The concept has been Andorsed by the Association of State Governors, and several accrediting agencies have already begun to require some sort of outcomes measurement as part of the accrediting process. Therre is a clear need to understand the ramifications of outcomes assessment as an educational policy issue. The chapters inthis volume f New Directions for Higher Education span a wide variety of issues and concerns about assessing student outcomes. This is the 59th issue of New Directions for Higher Education. For more information on the series, please see the Journals and Periodicals page.