In May, 1976, a national survey was initiated to measure and compare the quality of 78 of 80 accredited architectural programs in the United States. Statistical data were gather to analyze, score, and rank individual programs based on eight carefully selected components: educational; environmental; fiscal, physical, and human resources; advancement; communications; and opportunity.
The investigation method combined on-site visitations with statistical data released for this study by individual programs in cooperation with the National Architectural Accrediting Board and others. These sources provided the informational base for the scoring and ranking of individual programs. An adjusted, standardized additive method of component construction was employed to calculate component scores by a four-step process. Finally, an overall quality ranking of program scores was computed for each program surveyed. It was found that many deficiencies and anachronistic practices have pervaded architectural education in the United States. Of the 78 programs evaluated and categorized, no program was found to be either outstanding or inadequate.
The survey also included an analysis of architectural education by (1) program format and (2) endowment type. The results identified professional program formats among both publicly and privately endowed programs to be of higher quality than academic major formats. In 1976-77, 18 of the 25 highest rated programs utilized professional type program formats. Of these, the Master of Architecture dominated as the first professional degree. Further statistical analysis also indicated that private programs were generally higher in quality than comparable public programs based on the subcomponents quantified for this survey. Lastly, geographic regional analysis indicated that higher quality programs were located primarily in the Northeast.
The investigator recommended establishment of minimum standards for professional education in architecture based on quantifiable techniques and measurement. This process would allow periodic, comparative evaluation of program strengths and weaknesses. Implementation of this process was advocated as a necessary imperative toward effectuating reform in architectural education.