Thursday, August 31, 2006

Higher Education perspectives

The goal of this article is to list/tabulate higher education related movements in recent years. Later articles will exam/analys these movement and give advices on higher ed policy.
The Market
Through researches, media report and the competition of world economy, public have been told that higher education means higher pay. This raises the desire of general public in wanting to pursuit the higher ed - for a reason other than the knowledge's sack. With the awareness of general public, the higher ed market is getting hot. Issues in higher ed are also become hot topics and is easier to get public's attention.

Traditional Institutions
The traditional higher ed institutions are elite institutions in that staffs and faculties are the center of the institution. Faculties are very essential. They are given elite status on determine what is important for students and on how to evaluate THEIR students. Even the accredidation system is build on faculties standings instead of students achievement. This kind of system is like the monoch in the past, it's totally depend on self-retrospect to improve. Public institutions become more and more rely on government fund to function. There are very little accountability build into the design.

High cost
The elite status of traditional institutions and the heated market all contribute to the high cost of higher education. As mentioned above, some of the students are pursuing the higher education with career in mind instead of the glossiness of knowledge. All these customers need is what they need to know in order to get jobs. The extra cost associate with traditional institutions in providing broad libra art training is simply a burden to these customer.

The raising of for-profit Institutions
The heated market has promote the for-profit institutions. Some of the leading for-profit institutions follow the structure of traditional institutions. In general, they was able to reduce the cost by running things more efficient. These include standardize curriculm, using same teaching material and make use of technoledge. The bottom line is that they will still provide libra art traings like traditional institution would. There are, however, other bleed of for-profit institution which were traditionally more inline with vocational training. Due to the fact that higher education means higher pay, some of these school are making moves to become four year school. As their tradition dictated, these school likely would not have the same level of libra art courses are traditional four year school would have.

The accountability of higher education
With the heated market and customer with different goal in mind. The accountability of higher education become a heated topic. For private for profit vocational schools that become four year schools, due to their differences from traditional four year schools and creditation agencies, they have been asked to show more accountability than those traditional four year schools. Since these school growing out their vocational root, they are likely to barely meet the requirements of creditation agencies. On the other hand, for traditional institutions, there isn't really a good measurement of the quatlity of their graduates either - you can never directly compare the quality of a MIT graduates with that of University of Nebraska. Because, traditionally, there never have a good indicator on the quality of higher ed graduates, there simply no good way of holding for-profit institution accountable - e.g. gaurding the BS brand name. Period. For customers that hire graduates (e.g. companies), they have a different view on the accountablity. Their main goal is to be able to select the graduates they need. When their employee is not able to show the abilities their degree implied, companies begin to question the quality of a degree, from for profit or not.

Possible articles
Basics of government
  • Froward looking.
  • Provides incentives for desired actions.
  • Listen to what people have to say.
The US education settings
  • Federal government do not have direct authorities on institutions or even the accreditation agencies.

The goal of education
  • Ethic reform - students' attitudes
  • Parent/General Public's ethic reform
The practicle practice
  • Taking oppotunities
  • Educates public
  • Establish realistic rules
  • Clear labeling

Monday, August 14, 2006

on Higher Ed Assessment

People now acknoledged that better higher ed assessment is needed.
Testing, Testing - Inside Higher Ed
- A Culture of Evidence: Postsecondary Assessment and Learning Outcomes - an ETS article
- Claim work toward for institution's internal evaluation
Critical Thinking - Wikipedia
Association of American College and Universities (AAC&U) - Assessment Articles
- Liberal Education Outcomes: A Preliminary Report on Student Achievement in College
-- Use stadandard test to make sure local assessment aling with each other.
-- Should move away from multiple choices style test.
-- Believe compond test is the best way to measure the REAL benifit of Liberal education
-- Accept standard test for single component evaluation
-- Not against ACT, SAT
-- Use survey to support their findings - arguable!!
To help understand the issues, it worth to take a look how and why the higher Ed. assessment become an issue. Before we look at that, let's first feel the power of captilism in our mind.

There is no doubt in my mind, all these begin with business competitions. In the past, business competition isn't high and the profit margin are high, companies can offered to absorbe some training costs. These days, competitions are everywhere and turnover rate of worker are high too. Companies are reluctant to training their worker and, at the same time, demanding highly trained worker upon their hiring. The demands transformed into several forms. For skills that are easy to measure, the demands quickly turn into the demands for certificates or test score. For skills that are hard to measure, companies first relyed on screening services and, eventurally, without satisfied results, voice their flustration and were heared and feeled by politicians and public.

The issue has since turn into presures on institutions and, without thinking carefully, scholars, in particular, begin to defend the quality of higher education in United States. But we have to realized that, as pointed out earlier, the issue is not about the quality of our higher education but about how to measure skills that are hard to measure. Companies can careless about the quality of higher education as long as they can find the worker they need.

So, for companies, the only issue is how to measure those hard to measured skills. To this end, all it is needed are testing services that measuring these hard to measured skills. The net effect is that institutions with good testing results will attract more students and are eyed as good institutions since, for large amount of people, they can also careless about the quality of higher education as long as they can get the training they need to find a job. Now, you can really feel the power of the capitalizm!

However, the success of capitalizm is not without governments! The good about capitalizm is that it motivates people. Without governments, the motivation can turn to illegal means, and self-interestedact and dis-regard public's interest. So, what governments need to do is to prevent flaws and guard public interest.

What will happen if we let all these play out, most students/parents will only interested in career driven courses and they can careless who taught it. As long as they can pass exams and get hired. Because of this, given the profit driven nature of capitalizm, the price for getting these kind of training will went down - which can't be a bad thing, consumer got what they wanted without those extra cost for courses and services they don't want - like a swiming pool or a laxutry dome.

As we could expect, some of the academic courses exist today will be ignored by students and parents and it is very possible that these courses are considered valuable to the society in the long run. If this is the case, governments will need to purswating their citizen to suport those courses through government provisions. Since these courses are supported by governments, governments can demand the quality of these courses through mandated checks. These may include basic science research or some libera art courses. Governments should also try to prove to companies the value of these courses and have them to support it as a way to lower governments' spending.

There are, however, questions for Governments: What is in the best interest of our citizen? Granted, capitalism have brought good things to our citizen, but it also caused griefs from time to time and it is the job of governments to mitegate the griefs.

The question for governments to think about is what's the right step to take in regarding the future of our citizen. To answer this question, we need think about what is in the benifit of our citizen? Safty, Happiness, Money( Can it buy the happiness?)

From the view of ecomonic developemt, what the government need to do is to support companies' need. This means

Questions left for governments are
Predicting what will happen. Think about the wellfare of our citizen. Determine what is the right things to do in the benifit of our citizen.

Question: What wil

Now, you can

We, however, do need realize that testing resluts of these testing services will influence public's opinion on each institution. So the net

For United States,

To them, the quality is measured in their terms.

The quality of our higher education only became companies' concern if they can't find skilled worker any place else. Don't you see they out sourcing to foreign countries?

With this in mind, we understand that there are two issues. For companies, their major concern is about how to measure those skills.

Presures are on institutions.
The public fee
As all the evidence quoted above, people no longer can deny or resist the idea of measuring higher education in a standard way. Those claim that higher education simply too complicate to measure with standard processes are diminishing. Overall, this is a victory of the consumer.

It may be true that public have got institutions to listen, but people must realize that some of the claims institutions have posted do have their merits. It is very important, now, to listen to what they said and set a realistic measurement scheme.

A measurement scheme can sustain itself only if there are customers. For example, the ACT and SAT can sustain itself because colleges using them. The question is then, who are the potential customer of higher ed. measurements? The likely customers are employers. Employers can careless about where employees got their training, as long as they have the skill they need.

We have to understand thatand the presure of producing to consultant are feeled and heard by applicants and communities. The pressure are put on

In planing the measurement, it is very important to recognize that employer should be invited. After all, who is really care about these measurement? This is a very realistic question especially at a time of the booming for-profit institutions. For employer with applicants from these institution, a simple check of legitmacy of their diploma may no longer enough.

With all these developments, we can say
With all sectors in the higher education working on

It is good accredidation and ETS are working on this. So are the Education Department. They can proceeded as they like. Except that, the Education Department is liable to the general public.

As one of the comment point out, if company want to test it, go ahead. He is actually on target! We have to remember that companies are the final judgment - unless you are going to be self-employed. So no matter what ETS or accredidation agency do, they will have to have companies buying into it. If they can't proof their value, it won't survial!

Along with other news, the postive note here is that, at least, people agree that even higher ed can be measured! As to what is to be measured, it will dependt on the customer.

The value added measure isn't really needed. - I will work on this!

Friday, August 11, 2006

on Science Education

Spend and You Shall Receive
- NSF funding
International Rebound
- Jump in engineer!!
Business School Applications Spike
- Where science students go?? MBA - the society driven it!!
So That’s Why They’re Leaving

  1. Engineer went MBA because pay - CEO always get paid more
  2. Possible grade inflation?
  3. Hard science can be graded more objectively
  4. What should be the goal of the grade?
  5. 35% A - why? How do you compare accross years or to other institutions? Maybe percent grade make more sense?
  6. Policy statement like SAT - using at your own risk
  7. Is science really more difficult than social science?

Summary goes here!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

An End to Picking One Box

Original Article
U.S. Education Draft

The recognition of the diversity of the population of United States is a right step. However, fail to recognize that the racial composition is NOT a good variable is a major problem. Human do not perceive the genetic composition per se. Human perceive the look and behavior of another person. The look and behavior, without doubts, should be the better variables.

The article simply states the fact that the U.S. Education Department is to follow the steps of Census Bureau and implemented 1997 OMB approach. Comments on that article show more interesting side of the issue.

The main theme of the comments turn into the discussion of wether the race still an issue in hihger Ed or America. I like the optimistics view of some of the commentators, but I don't think I can agree with them. With the affirmative action still in the air and with institutions that using races as part of their selection criteria, there are genuen reason to track the race/ethnic information. I suspecting that the reason a lot of the reader don't think the race matter, could be due to the fact that readers of that web site are, in general, doing well in life. For them, the race may not seem to be an issue as point out by John A Silvi's comment to the article New Arguments on Affirmative Action.

The question is then what info are appropriate to collect? To answer this question, we need understand how human perceive differences between people. It is clear that the look and the behavior of a person are the two major factors. For college admission, sometime, the name can be a clue. Comparing with the look and behavior, the genetic comopsition isn't as obvious. As we all know that a multi-racial individual can looked like everything in between. However, people could still perceive that person as one of the major races - that just what people do - people do profiling for organizing thoughts. The look of a person is, therefore an important one. It could potentially, be a better variable than the biological composition since it measures peoples perception more directly.

The other way to dis-prove the existance of race discrimination is to prove that there are other factors that are more important. One example of this factor is the poverty level. There have been studies, that show that poverty could expalain some of the achievement gaps since the achievement level of poor White kids are also low. One other possible factor is the culture values as most people recognize that different culture values things differently. Again, this variable does not necessaryly attached to race as people recognize that Hispanic culture is crossover all races. So, why isn't it possible that Asian culture crossover the racial line, especially for a multi-racial person.

So. It is clear that the biological combination of race information is less desirable compare to the look and the culture variables.

**There is nothing wrong with profiling, it's just what brain do to help storing information and drew conclusions. With the help of computer, people is begining to rely on other information, say, criminal records, to drew conclusions. However, a person with criminal record does not automatically convict him/her of a specific crime, it simply more likely. But isn't that a sort of profiling? Well, it's how we solve problems - based on our information and make decision to devote our efforts to the likely solution first then others. The distinction is if we always keep open mind about the other possibilities. But, remember, you could have spent enormous resources before you reach those others.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

A Faculty of One - working on

Original Article

Summary goes here!

  1. Well. Again, we need higher ed testing system.
  2. Does the number of faculty dictate the quality of the education? - Not necessary.
  3. What's the acceptable range of number of faculty? Should a school of, say, 5 faculties necessaryly produce better students than that of, say, 3 faculties?
  4. How you justify in setting up that criteria and guarantee the result?
  5. In-flexible is the reason cost are high at higher ed

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Students getting double dose of the three R's

Original Article

Summary goes here!

So? Does US student have enough school time?
So? What's bad about NCLB?
Again. Building student's responsibility is the most important thing.

Tenn. Gov. Pushes for 'Wal-Mart Degrees

Original Article

Summary goes here!

I do think it's goes too far. However, this is what the higher ed test will solve. Even though students are taking Wal-Mart specific degree, to student, those skill are useful some where else and without higher ed testing, it will have hard time find people accepting those credits.