Legislators are heading some resistance to the plans to link higher education funding to graduation rates (Struggle to tie higher ed funds to graduation rate“). This is a very popular idea pushing students through K-12 regardless of whether or not they learned turned out to be such a huge success.
Apparently, legislators think we don’t care about student success and need financial incentives.
It’s been an interesting couple of weeks for UT President William Powers. As rumors about his demise started to swirl around him, Lt. Governor Dewhurst took to the floor in his defense and the House and Senate passed resolutions supporting Powers. Now the Houston Chronicle has taken up his cause (“UT-Austin President William Powers deserves better“).
You have to wonder when the Regents will get the hint and leave Powers to do his job. It should be obvious that someone thinks he is doing it well.
Inside Higher Ed has a story (“A high school teacher alerts professors to the limitations of a generation of No Children Left Behind”) talking about the response generated by Ken Bernstein’s “Warning from the Trenches” (the subject of a previous post). With a little luck this debate will continue to grow and help the nation discard the failed testing regime imposed on public schools.
While higher education wasn’t mention in the President’s State of the Union Address on Tuesday night, the Chronicle of Higher Ed is reporting (“Obama’s Accreditation Proposals Surprise Higher-Education Leaders“) has some plans. The administration calls for benchmarks on affordability as well as assessment of student success that will be used in deciding how gets federal dollars.
While some of the data that the administration may be looking for sound useful, finding out what jobs our graduations get and what they earn will be difficult to gather. This data could prove expensive to gather an easy to manipulate. Graduates often take several months to settle into a job, some go to grad school, and it’s hard to image finding them all and getting them to complete surveys when they are at the point in employment that gives us the best view of their success.
Some schools have already been incomplete or insincere in the data they report and it’s not clear whether or not the federal government or anyone else should trust this data too much.
Every day the web of assessment data gets more complicated and time-consuming.
I originally saw “A warning to college profs from a high school teacher” in an AAUP publication but didn’t have a way of sharing it.
I don’t think it’s fair to call it a “warning” because I think most of us have already seen the first wave of these students floundering in our classrooms.
Tragically, the state of Texas seems determined to sink even deeper into this pit. It’s odd to me because I don’t know any professor that believe standardized tests have yielded any meaningful improvement in the students they were seeing. I haven’t heard any employer tell me that they thought high school graduates were better prepared today than before standardized tests. And, every K-12 teacher I’ve talked to felt nothing but stifled by the testing regimes imposed on them.
Many “reformers” behind these tests may have had the best intentions (others simply took the money the testing industry and their lobbyists). That doesn’t mean that they should not be held responsible when America finally realizes that our education system is turning us into a third world nation.
It looks like the University of Texas plans to jump into the massive open online course game in a big way (“UT plans ‘massive’ offerings on Internet“). There’s no indication if they can really confirm identities and prevent fraud. It is clear that they’re ready to deliver content to a lot of people.