Wednesday, November 15, 2006

First on the Docket: Accreditation

Original Article - Accreditaion may be the first step taken by US DOE on hihger ed.

Let's give public alternatives by accrediting for-profit with objective measurements.
In light of the recent public call for accountability and the hardship for traditional institution to adopt changes. An alternative is to give public choices and let the public decide.

The alternative accreditation can based on measurable outcomes and since the outcome is what employer care about, students came out of these accreditaion can have direct employ perspectives. And this could potentially be the expectation of a lot of students and parents. The two pieces of information required from these institutions will be the % of graduates that pass the professional test and the percent of students that graduates.

The idea behind these two measurements are:
  1. It gives students and parents an expectable value - % of graduates that can pass the professional test and, therefore, an expected job offering.
  2. It hold the students responsible to be able to fall inside the % of students who do graduate.
It is important to realized that what we really should be interested in is the quality of the graduates and is not the quantity of the graduates. The % of students graduate serves the purpose of infoming students and parents the possiblity they will graduate. As point out by Dr. Abdul-Rahim Ahmad, commenting the article 'RateMyProfessors: Hidden Camera Edition', the majority of the reponsibility of graduating is in the hand of the students. The quality of institution is warranted by the % that passing the certificates, it is student's responsibility to advanced into the group that will graduate.

The certificate exam may have different levels, for BS and BA certificates, it can includes items that measuring the general education.

With this approach, traditional institutions have no reason to object. For one, it does not affect their status and practice. For two, it is also them that call for strick regulation on for-profit instituttions. For for-profit institutions, they got alternatives to the traditional accreditation approaches. They can decide on which way is a best fit to their mission. For policy makers, they answered to public's call for quality and effectiveness by leveling the playground and let the most effective and the most effecient institutions win.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Making Sense of ‘Bologna Degrees’

Original Article

Summary goes here!

I thought there were a lot of opposition against assess US higher ed. But it seems, after all, people here agree that content is much more important then the formality of year. Or maybe we should extend this a bit to the formality of our bachelor title - I do agree with Claude Pressnell's concern that their 3 year may not be uniform either.

But the key here is the competency of the students. How can we best measure it? Or, just let them in and see how long it take them to graduate - which can be a waste of resources but it can still be fair.

About the general education - America need really think about this! I would say things that deem necessary to become a responsible citizen should be mandate in K12. We also should realize that even if you have committed to a major, you can still enrol in other class for the sake of broaden your content. Graduate school can still require it if it is essntial to meet their quality of graduation.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Does ‘Value Added’ Add Value?

Original Article

Measuring student learning does not necessarily answers the questions people want to know about the value of higher education. Tailored assessment serve less to help American to distiguish claims from a diploma mill to that of a genuine institution. Using Professional Service Provider like ETS to proivde assessment services is plausable.

This is a very nice article. The question asked:"whether measuring student learning necessarily answers the questions people want to know about the value of higher education” is a very good one. Young’s statement “We cannot substitute value added for basic competencies” is particularly thoughtful.

Some of the comments on the articles angered about the notion that US Higher Ed haven’t done anything about the accountability. But, this is really not necessary. This is the America, everyone got chances to present their cases.

The question here isn’t about how greate US higher ed is but about how to best serve the American — not just those brightest but the American in general. To most American, they probably not concerned about MIT and Cal Tech at all. But they could well be interested in anything went below those elite institutions.

Tailored assessment is good in fitting the goal of a institution but serve less to help American to distiguish claims from a diploma mill to that of a genuine institution — the example is extreme, but you got the idea. If you have not so bright a kid and you are facing the choices. You will think about the good old consumer market that you know what you are paying for. This is what facing most of the American these days.

The variation in assessments will always be there. But making the result available to public is a big step toward answering people’s question about the value of higher education. Think about those product reviews you find on BestBuy or CircuitCity’s website. They are diverse and probably have no statistical value. But, I found them quite useful.

For institutions that care so much about the accuracy, it may not be a bad idea to provide official info to deter people from judging institutions based on anonymous reviews.

I certainly understand that there are millions of factors to address and there probably no single solution to fit all. But how about the professional certificates, aren’t they some kind of multi-institutional assessments? Wouldn’t those results be good information to answer public’s call for accountability?

Ben J's comments provide a good reason in using Professional Service Provider like ETS to proivde assessment services.

It's good to see there are a lot of assessement going on. I like what Fayetteville State's Young “We cannot substitute value added for basic competencies.”

The question: "Whether measuring student learning necessarily answers the questions people want to know about the value of higher education ?" is very well asked.

For one, institutions could have more publicly announce these results - but there may be some institution would not publish their result. What public concern is how do we make good investment with their money? What they need is information! It seems to me public is ready to assume their responsiblity in searching for what their money's worth but could not find enough information. When you searching for a DVD player, you do the research and make the decision. Once you made the decision, in general, there is not much you can complain about since you made that decision on what price and feature you are willing to pay for it.

Of cause students learn things at their work place, but if what they learn at work place contribute in any significant amout to the said measure, I can only say the measurement isn't a good one in measuring values provided by that institution.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Rate My Professors: Hidden Camera Edition

Original Article

The success of rate-my-professor sites are the result of institutions' ignoring of their customer.
A lot of institutions conduct student evaluations on their instructors. But very few of them make it public information. The success of these kind of rate-my-professor sites are count on the failures of institution's responses to their customer.

Part of my view of the future learning includes pre-made lecture material, a group of tutors/advisors that provides assistant. Students study by themselves and contact assistants when needed. In this settings, the feedback of students is very important. The feedbacks don't have to be black and white. The feedback can actually reflect an assistant's personal styles and can be particular helpful to certain kinds of students. Institutions and instructors shouldn't see the feedback as a negative things.

With diverse learning behaviors, we need diverse teaching styles.

More reading at the repository!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Continue to graduate school

A Description of 1992-93 Bachelor's Degree Recipients 10 Years Later

Summary goes here!
40% of Bacheler enroll at Graduate School.
25% complete in 10 year
9.4% left without degree
  • Higher percentage of hispanic and black enrolled in Graduate School - these are those best in their race and are more motivated.
  • Asian still completed with higher rate (culture, family support??)
  • Counting completed and still enroll, Hispanic and Black still come up in top
  • Women enroll more but also left-without-degree more
  • The younger the likely they will enroll and complete and sustain. All age have similar left-without-degree rate
  • Natural Science, Education and social science have least of 49% going rate and completion rate. Natural science have low sustaining rate and education have highest left-without-degree rate.
  • The sooner they enroll, the more success they will.
  • Private graduates are more likely to enroll and success (more resource in supporting them?)
  • Full time jobber are less likely to enroll but with higher successful rate ( less study time or more job restiction, stable, more resources? )