Monday, October 08, 2007

NYTimes positive towards assessment

I'm behind on my reading and so I am linking to last week's NYTimes Sunday Magazine. (It is early in the semester, so I am only 1 week off) It was their annual college edition. This story, however, deals particularly with assessment. The author, James Traub, basically suggests that assessment is a good thing for colleges. He ends with these lines:

The self-accountability of our system of higher education is grounded in the optional nature of college attendance. But college isn’t really optional any longer. The economic value of higher education, on both the individual and the national levels, has given the public a stake in outcomes not so different from the stake it has in the public schools.
This, I think, underlines the thinking of all of the testing advocates. Do you agree? Are we now really only the concluding years of a k-16 system?

I find it a problematic assumption. Clearly, higher education is a public good and carries increasing importance in the current world in which we live. However, to decide that this means that our job is no different than that of an elementary school teacher undermines the principles upon which higher ed rests. More on this later, but I really have other things I should be doing. . . .

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