Friday, December 14, 2007

Tennessee Reconsiders Tilt to Merit Aid

Original Article

Summary goes here!

My thoughts on this is that, in general, educators and policy makers did not carefully went through the brain storm session of what kind of citizen they need and what kind of resources they have.

The goal of a society is to bring the prosper to the society with best efficiency. With this in mind, policy makers need decided that, with limited resources and the economic goal they try to achieve, do they need higher education for every possible citizen? Or maybe it is more efficient to educate a group of experts that will establish new businesses to bring prosper to all citizen.

Beside the analysis on physical entities, policy maker also need to factor in if the policy encourage the general idea of promoting responsibility - i.e. asking yourself first instead of asking what the society should do for you.

Open Courses Open Wider

Original Article

Summary goes here!
===Revision of my post at
I know some of you may not up to this and I know there are issues that need to be worked out. But I like to, again, toss the idea that we should find a way to give certificates/degrees to people that is capable of learning by themselves. These people can be charged minimum fees for the certificate/degree evaluation. With this being available, we prompt the idea that the goal of education is to build the ability to learn.

It shifts the obligation of learning to students. As long as students can learn, they will be charged much less than those who need extra services that cost institutions to setup.

This will give society the right mindset for education.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

U.S. Students Fall Short in Math and Science

Original Article
PISA 2006 - At OECD, At US ED

Summary goes here!
I don't know about how Finland and Canada structure their education system. But I do see quite few far east countries made the list. As far as I know, testing is a common theme in these countries. Especially that test scores are given high regards. Grades are usually second to the most important. By the way, I believe the data show that they are spending less than United States.

A point: If you can set a clear goal, you can steer education to that goal. The goal can be improved and so will education. A bunch of non-compatible goals is next to no goals and give people excuses of no clear goal. I will not argue that NCLB is doing everything right, but I will give it the credit of setting a clear goal.

Postsecondary Education and Nebraska's Future forum

Original Article
Related material on the internet:
Nebraska Innovation Forum
University of Nebraska 2000 - 2004(strategy plan?)

This is a news report not my comments on the event.

On Dec. 5, 2007, Nebraska Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education (CCPE) and Senator Ron Raikes, Chair, Nebraska Legislature's Education Committee, co-host the forum: Postsecondary Education and Nebraska's Future.

The forum features presentations by Dennis Jones, president, National Center for Higher Education Management Systems and Q&A sessions with Nebraska leaders - Dennis Baack, Stan Carpenter, Doug Christensen, Tip O'Neil, Linda Ray Pratt (above, represent education sector), Wendy Boyer and Jim Linderholm (business sector). Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman is also invited. Dennis Jones' presentation can be found here.

Dennis Jones, a native Nebraskan who had been invited to give similar talks to Nebraska's policy makers in the past(e.g. 2003), made his points even clear this time that the most important thing for Nebraska is to strive on economic development. In general, his talk concluded that Nebraska is doing a fair job in educating our kids but is short on building a sustainable economics and, as a result, Nebraska was not able to retain these well educated kids and was not able to achieve economic gain.

At the Q&A session, several good points are raised. Stan Carpenter, with daughter in school, talk about customizing system to fit students learning style. Doug Christensen talked about what K12 system have done in recruiting minority students. Dennis Baack talked about community colleges' efforts in working with Universities, State colleges and private institutions in making the system more economic. Tip O'Neill talk about the culture changes in savings and about legislature's efforts in encouraging saving for education. Linda Ray Pratt talked about University's willingness in engaging the society in economic development and University's efforts in creating the innovation park. She also talked about UNO's efforts in attracting Iowa students. Wendy Boyer, when asked about businesses' view about the training need from higher education institutions, talked about the mixed need from business world and talked about the short term specific training needs of businesses.

Governor Dave Heineman use his opportunity to talk about the difficult budget decision he have to make between other issues and education. Even though he has passions on education and economic development, the tight state budget is limiting the funding state can appropriate to education. The lower tax and budget discipline is his signature.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Lincoln Public School Grading Policy Change?

Original Article - Sorry, can't find relative material at

Summary goes here!
I heard this from my daughter and confirmed by school principle.

LPS is discussing the possible change in the way middle school students are graded. The basic idea is that grades will be based on tests only, the homework and assignment are considered a separate item that evaluates a student's behavior.

An argument I learned from the principle is that people are wondered why should we keep ponding on these students for assignments if they can performed well in tests.

In general, this is a sound argument. But, I have to be causals. At this point in time, in general, grade is all people care and I can see the 'behavior' item been ignored totally. The question: Will this produce a right mind set for our youth?

As we all understand that no all kids are born equal and we also understand that not all people with highest grade accomplished the most. If there come a time that society and these young kids understand these, I will say the approach is OK. But! Are our society understand all these implications? Will colleges look into the value of assignments?

Once thing troubles me is that bright kids will begin to ignore assignments and could be ignorant to the fact that smart isn't every thing. The worst is that they will ignore the importance of working hard and better use of their gifts.

The implementation of this policy could also undermined the importance of work ethic especially for those young mind.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Grading the AP Curriculum

Original Article

we need better accountability for colleges and maybe, just maybe, in the way of cross college tests. However, this will happen only if employers are interested in knowing it.

Personally, I don't have much experience with AP. But based on the comments and description, I believe College Board did the right thing in taking the auditing action even though the claim of college level is truly un-necessary.

If conduct properly, the AP test is all it need to insure the quality and accountability. By publishing the statistics of AP test at high school level is enough to hold high school accountable. The decision in whether or how to use the score for admission purposes is up to the colleges. The suggestion of widening the score range by Hoosier Ed is a good one.

If you read Frizbane Manley's comment, you will agree with me that we need better accountability for colleges and maybe, just maybe, in the way of cross college tests. However, this will happen only if employers are interested in knowing it.

==== My comment at
Personally, I think what College Board should do is concentrate on making the test the best it can be and publish the test statistics of high school - this will hold the high school accountable. It's not that the audit is bad, but this is the final line.

As to professor Manley's joke about customers, I am sure part of the problem is because professor give out the grade. Just suppose for a moment that if grades are evaluated by third parties, students will see professors as allies and wouldn't blame the pressure from the professor.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Closing the College Achievement Gap

Original Article - Initiatives taken by couple of institutions.

Summary goes here!
It is a good thing that college leaders are thinking about these things. But, as I repeatedly advocated on my articles, I echo the view of the comments of CJProf.

The success of most Asian, not all but most, should really be studied and understand. It should shed lights on certain claims.

In general, I don't like the idea of quotas that based on population proportion.

As I discussed in my articles, the society as whole have to take closer look at what is the real goal and what is the real fair way of doing things.

== My comments at
As I mentioned a lot in my postings, I agree with CJProf that the root of the problem is the society.

The success of most Asian, most but not all, should shed lights on some of the claims. My father used to say it take generations to prosper. I understand that this is a passive action, but it shows the patience and willingness in invest everything in their children - they have taken all of these as their responsibilities. With kids of my own, I understand how difficult it is to implant the right attitudes in them.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Well, if They’re Already Using It

Original Article - How institutions should treat FaceBook, GMail brought in by students.

Summary goes here!

Main body here

Patent Reform and University Research

Original Article - Patent derived from Federal Fund should return royalties to federal.

Summary goes here!

Main body here

Science and the University

Original Article

Summary goes here!

Main body here

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

DREAM Act Vote on Tap

Original Article - need read more carefully.
'Dream Act' Fails - The Chronicle of Higher Education

Summary goes here!

Main body here

Race-Based Aid, After a Statewide Ban

Original Article

Summary goes here!

I think this is move in the right direction. Public institution does have it duties.

As to the comment of Dave Stone, the argument of the relatively privileged students know how the system work and, hence, benefit from the association is not a good one. In general, as long as organizations made information public, it is up to the individual to seek those information. We can't afford to lift personal duties this way. I understand that there are organizations that take steps to go to that level of help. But we have to understand that those are exceptions. People have to take up their responsibilities, you can't always count on people to bring information to you.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Female Faculty and the Sciences

Original Article

Summary goes here!
Well. We need think carefully here. Just like in the case of race, a simple request for population proportion is not the answer. The main point is stress the open mind and based things on objective measures.

We all understand that it take time for these things to happen. And it is always hard for minority to shine.

Some of the proposal in the comments aren't quite equal. It is definitely true that traditionally women spend more time in taking care of kids. But that no longer have to be the case. A powerful women should take care of their home by asking the share of duties. They should not request a policy to setup for them.

Friday, October 19, 2007

India's Call-Center Jobs Go Begging

Original Article - Well. We just need to be prepared.

Summary goes here!

I said this before. But I will say it again. India will not stay in the low salary league, they will demand more with their skills. The globalization is on their favor. We have to gear up otherwise we will fall.

Check my article about this issue here.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Sweetening the Deal

Original Article - OK. The comments went wild.

Summary goes here!

Anyway. I think computer evaluation is good and the idea of giving all students the same treat from school is also good for now. But the basic problem is, of cause, that the society is no longer value the sincereness. Adults not value the thing sincerely and students were not be taught to be sincere. But even with all these, students talks about professors can be used as administrative tools. Just give students place to talk and monitor them. Of cause, administrators should dis-count those talks about cookie receiving.

By the way, I definitely support evaluate students learning.

The Benefits of Dual Enrollment

Original Article - Non-Official body for accredited Concurrent Enrollment implementation - I still need to check this out.

Summary goes here!

One thought: Should we raise the bar for high school diploma? For one, since some scholars are so interested in general education. Why don't we just add these to high school? Especially, if they are deemed so important for today's society - just make it mandatory! Or extend the K12 to K13. I am sure professors' will be more than happy to teach higher level courses than those introductory courses.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

On YouTube, No Enrollment Caps

Original Article - UC Berkeley put lectures on YouTube

Summary goes here!
My 2003 view of role change of instructors

==== My comments on
I admire all these open course movements. The implication of these are many.

For instructors, this could mean the role change. If lectures are online, is there any reason for students to show up in class? Of cause, there is. For example, to ask questions. But what if instructors are reachable online? Or what if an institution adopts UC Berkeley's lecture?

We have to realized that, there are a lot of kids that are self-motivated and will learn a lot of material by themselves and there really no good reason to keep them in class all the time. Then, of cause, that they will have questions and would like to have a chat with knowledgeable professionals and this is where instructors can find their new roles.

For employers, since all these material are online and there will be individuals that is capable and is learning those materials. Degree will no longer the sole judgment of a person's capability. Employers should find better ways in gauging their applicants. This is where the hiring consulting companies will play a role. Of cause, hiring consulting companies better know how to measure a person's capability.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Cut half of college courses: Daley

Original Article - Concerning High Cost of Higher Ed.

Summary goes here!
==== My comments on
Higher Ed had been promoted as the way to make more income. People believe in it and that is their goal.

But, the current higher ed system is not built to meet that goal (Community college are close, but traditional 4 year are not) and this is why there are costs that are not directly associated with that goal and there are probably courses that are not definitely needed to achieve that goal.

Personally, I believe competition is the way to bring the price close to the costs. It is true that technology could cost money. But on the other hand, it also save money in reducing labor need. There is really no sense in trying to pin point a source of the rising cost. All we can ask for is the effective costs that will help students reach their goal.

The free market model is a good one to learn from. By setting objective standard on the product and set corporation free to compete.

Well. The right thing to do is to level the playing field by setting the right accreditation structure based on student achievement.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Subtleties and Ethics of Early Decision

Original Article - to be read

Summary goes here!

I believe the decision belong to institution. As long as people have the same opportunities to apply I don't see a problem. How people is going to plan their schedule is up to the people and is of no business and responsibilities of the institution.

OpenCourseWare Goes Statewide

Original Article - Efforts in Utah. A list of open course institutions.

Summary goes here!

The next step: open degree with low cost.

==== My comment at
I suppose these course material is mean to open to public not just scholars. But, assuming that attending institutions is essential in obtaining the appropriate skills to qualify for a degree, these material is of no use to general public.

Am I missing something or people really realized that went to college is not the only way of obtaining skills.

Now. The question: Should all people with skills be granted that piece of paper? How we are going to do that? How much we should charge for that piece of paper?

Meeting of the Minds

Original Article

I hope the result is objective enough ... (and) help us in regulating the for-profits ... and held the college price at a reasonable level.

I suppose every one understand that measure of certain skills is difficult. What surprised me is that, with years of efforts, as claimed by institutions, institutions are accepting grants to make more efforts. Maybe, just maybe, that they realized that their past efforts is not of enough efforts at all.

I see these grants as an incentives to get institutions to be serious about their efforts. The thing I wondered is if there are mandated goals. Or if the money is just an incentive.

I hope the result of these grants are of objective nature so that it can apply equally well to for-profit so that it can address the public concern of the high higher ed price.

======== My comments at the
Well. I hope the result is objective enough so that it can be applied to the for-profit institutions.

This will not only help us in regulating the for-profits but also help public in selecting institutions. This, in turn, can produce a healthy competition and held the college price at a reasonable level.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Elevating the Great Books Anew

Original Article - Teach humanities to college students

Summary goes here!

I need think about this. Of cause, I don't have the humanities education of the Western. But so does those US students that not go through the college education. Are we saying that these people are of lower rank? In what way, I asked.

I tend to think if these things are deem so important, they should be taught at K12. If not, I can see where JLE's comments come from.

Personally, I do not deny the importance of these "things". But I wonder if reading literature is the right way of teaching it, let alone what list of books to read. I wondered isn't this the job of the K12 social studies?

Dealing With ‘Job Outs’

Original Article

Summary goes here!

We should all understand that this is not a bad thing. There are students that are very well capable and can continue to improve themselves.

For higher ed industries, they simply need to define a better measure of success. And if they truly believe in education and their duty to public, they should offer alternative way to issue that piece of paper to students instead of insisting them to sit in class (e.g. allow test-out) and pay for those sitting time.

Here are some of my thoughts along this line:
College Cost : Proceeding ...
Response to Mr. Soto

Accountability and the Applicant

Original Article

Summary goes here!

Well. We will see what will happen. I think without Spellings push, the U-CAN probably never born. The question: Do we satisfied with these dynamics or are there better ways that can keep higher ed institutions constantly attended to publics' interest?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Altering Accreditation — But How?

Original Article - See Glen S. McGhee's comments on history of reform. See wintercow20's experience.

Summary goes here!

It's sound like that Eaton is agreeable in problems that facing the higher education. The question, can she represent the view of accreditation community.

Well. What can I say. Isn't that what I proposed a while ago? Let's have new kind of accrditing agencies and let's compete.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Elite schools dominate admissions to top universities

Original Article - Britain’s Universities

Summary goes here!

Very interesting.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

U.S. Continues to Slip in Educational-Attainment Levels, Says Report Comparing OECD Countries

Original Article

Summary goes here!

Well. I am not very excited about the data they used. I question the compatibility of those data. For example, the 91% graduate rate of Japan could very well because of the selectivity of the Japanese higher ed institution. Also the culture difference in the higher ed institution.

The other thing that is more important is that completion rate only mean something if the quality of the graduates are comparable.

So. I would not put a lot of weights on these numbers. I will prefer to guide by our common sense and be truth to ourselves and really try to understand what kind of graduates we produce.

A Worldwide Test for Higher Education?

Original Article - quite few links to reports done by OECD

Summary goes here!
I like Don Langenberg's attitude and I do have a science background.

I agree that the work is difficult but if we just stopped, based on our knowledge of today, we missed all possibilities.

As for K12, I have to say teacher is not the only one should judge the success of NCLB. This apply to Higher Ed too, instructor is not the only one involved.

To me, science could be a good place to start. Most of the undergraduate science courses are heavy on 'knowledge' and can partially offset people's arguments against standardized test, even though, in my view, knowledge is totally relevant to 'critical thinking' and the success of education.

Standardized test is constantly under attack because, in people's mind, they think it can only test facts. But that is not the fact! Even though the test takers' action is limited to pick answers from a given set, the process in reaching that decision is roughly the same(for science at least) to question that requires outline each steps. I also like to point out that standardized test can still be a very useful tool if you spend time and think about it. A simple test like (2+3*5)^2 can actually tell you a lot about a kid's ability.

The association of coaching with standardized test is also misleading. As a person that went through all these 'coaching' process when I grow up, I can tell you the differences between coaching and learning. Coaching does not work but learning does. The question is what do you call coaching? To me, I am learning, not be coached! I spent time solving problems and I adjust my understanding of the reading material when my answer isn't right - it's much like what you do with the exercise questions in the textbook, admittedly I did more reading and more exercises - which I considered hard working, not coaching.

There are what I will call the 'coaching' that happening in the 'coaching' institute. But I don't think it works. I got classmates that picking answers based on coaching skill like: don't pick a answer that so stand out from others. As you can see, that really won't help much.

Coaching can happen on all kind of tests, not just the standardized test. People also have to be careful in using the word 'coaching' as it could very well mean learning. By the way, I don't see people blame athlete been coached - without hard work, how much impact coach will help?

For social sciences, this could be a difficult task. For natural sciences, at undergraduate level, I don't see much of a problem.

For the most part, undergraduate nature science courses are still in the knowledge acquisition level. Thinking are promoted. But the knowledge probably still account a great deal of the learning. Tests that designed to measure these shouldn't be too difficult.

Personally, my major concern is the price of the higher ed. With the system we have today, the likely hood of getting competitively priced career training is hard to come by. There are several reason for that.

The most important question is do industries really know what they are looking for? Can they put these requirement down in a much objective form?

1. High school did not provide the needed career training meeting industries' need. There are several possible issues here. Do business really know what they want? Is it possible for high school to produce graduates that meeting industries' need?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Business of Branching Out

Original Article

Summary goes here!

I am only concerned about the quality of the graduates. Can universities holding to their academic standard.

Office Hours: Coming to a Computer Near You

Original Article

Summary goes here!

I am a true believer that true learning started with students. Lecture can only get students a head start on a topic. The real learning begins when students worked their way through assignments - i.e. learning via reading and pondering on principles.

This is why, personally, I believe a big part of educating students should be placed on tutoring and consulting.

As pointed out by anytime, the need of this kind of teaching is in demand.

Monday, September 17, 2007

College Accountability Movement Moves Online

Original Article

Summary goes here!

Got to love this: “We’re in a very subjective, and claim-based marketing environment in which student traffic is driven in large part by who can spend the most on marketing,” which had been my point all these time. Their goal of placing focus on individual programs is a direct way of answering to the question.

Here are some of my thoughts in response to kgotthardt and Glen S. McGhee's comments:
For kgotthardt, it seems he have issues with some of the schools which no doubt could cast some doubts on their sincereness. But, in principle, I support the idea.
As for Glen, he has a lot of good points and are, like kgotthardt, questioning the sincereness of this group.

Personally, I understand that, to be truly accountable, added value is the thing that should be measured and be charged for by institutions. But there are reality settings that made this approach much more difficult. For example, if the incoming students are with variety background, in order to provide them the same added values, institutions will be forced to provide each of them individualized instructions, which is not likely and not efficient. My idea of how this can be accomadated by simply measure the outcome of exiting students. When the outcome of exiting students are measured and published, potential students are to look at those measure and pick the reasonably charged institution to go to. The other side of the equation is that if institutions allows waive of courses and fees. On the institutions' side, institutions are to look out for the capability of their incoming students and adjust their course layout and fees to charge. The contract is that in accepting a student, they are committed to bring the student to the stated level of achievement.
We all know that there can have all kinds of ways to measure success. Some of them are not objective and are, therefore, suffered by the
"uncertainty principle" as point out by T-bone.

I understand that objective measurements in social science or writing isn't easy to come by. But I like to point out a common mis-understanding of the objective measurement in science or engineer.

The science and engineer tests do not have to be tests of facts. The test can be constructed in such a way that sound logical reasoning have to take place first before answer can be constructed. There are even cases that sound arguments must be done in order to qualify answers.

There are times that we can even give students reading materials and testing how well they understand the paragraph.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Un-complicating Community College Transfer

Original Article

Summary goes here!
Personally, I support 4 year institutions' rights in evaluate their incoming students. At the same time, I will also support quality check of the graduates of 4 year colleges.

Society consists of a lot of member/components. Each member need to do their parts and be responsible and proud of it. The idea of governance is to establish environments that promote these virtual. The attempt to forcefully manipulate or mandate operation of these components will result into what communist had successes of doing.

In this particular case, a big question is how will we be able to hold universities accountable? To be fair, the measure will have to tied to the quality of their incoming students. The side effects, of cause, is that universities will have to spend other efforts to bring under qualified students to higher level because it's simply not efficient to have ranked faculties in teaching these under qualified students. Beside this may lower the achievement feeling of the faculties and results in not proud of what they do. By the way, do we open a door for community colleges to ignore their duties in producing high quality graduates? The related question, of cause, is that if we are going to check the quality of community college, shouldn't we check the quality of university too?

====== My comments to
I agree with Jermiah and Robert - not all community colleges are equal and not even all instructors are equal. I were teaching the exiting classes at community colleges and my students entering my classes with A and Bs are common. But. I really can't say they are close to the level I expected for 4 year college students. Even though I have higher standards, I went along and give my top group(usually one or two students) A - I can't give no A - can I??

Robert, I wonder if you will support the view that students should be tested before credits can be transfered? - in your field.

Policies Concerning Undocumented Students

Original Article

Summary goes here!
Personally, I see this as opportunities for states and United States.

I can see there are opportunities for states to advance their state in term of the state's interests. This vacuum of federal law is a vacuum for good. For states that are really hungry for human resources, these are the potential resources if they invested right.

Contrary to common believes, I believe there are characters about immigrants that have value to our society. For one, these are likely kids of poor and hardworking families. As a general human behavior, these kids appreciate more about what they got and understand the requirement to survive and, therefore, the important to success.

Nurturing these kids, not only provide a generation of workforce, it influence the value of the society for generation to come. State is a small enough unit that is easier to come to concession between fellow citizen. A visionary governor have the opportunities to persuade the state to take the opportunity and pass laws that is required to foster the growth of the state.

The lesson learned will eventually better shaped the congressional debate on immigrant issues.

A Sleeper Amnesty: Time to Wake Up from the DREAM Act

Original Article

Summary goes here!

I appreciate the insight of the article about the DREAM act.

I, however, can't agree with the blind rejection of amnesty. In my view, as of today, the debate about immigration policy in America haven't taken the overall interests of United State into consideration. A strong country is based on their people and people's vision and attitude.

The world have changed, the protectionism is not going to take you very far. US can keep paying more for their people for the same work that others get paid for less. But this will only made our worker over estimate their value, blind to the reality and fail to recognize the importance of self improvement.

Immigrants of the past and today both bring in the freshness of attitude and hardship. The value of our people is not the heritage but their vision and attitude toward life.

If we just look honestly into immigrants of today, you will still find those courages and loves that marked the immigrants of the past. The take the hardships in searching of better life. They do everything to ensure their kids have better life. For these immigrants, I don't see any living citizen of United States can blindly denies their desires to be an honorable citizen and I don't see how granting citizenship to these immigrants could hurt the interests of United States.

I am sure that even if we set a higher but not un-realistic standard for these immigrants then our fellow citizen, a lot of them will meet those standards. So what else you are asking for? Aren't we a proud country of equality?

Facelifts for the Facebook Generation

Original Article

Summary goes here!

If you have tracked comments at the site, you can see what a different view between some professors/instructors and administrators.

As I repeatedly talked about providing discussion spaces to students in campuses and the importance of open up to students. The thing that I didn't foreseen is that the admission/recruiting is actually the department that makes these things happen.

Now. As my comments on the article says, changes are coming, institutions should look ahead and prepare for it.

My comments on the article: =================

I wonder if institutions realize that this is like democracy — there is no going back.

These changes will inevitably lead to rate professors, classes ... etc. Changes will eventually changes instructors role in institutions. Taped lectures will change instructors role to consulting and tutoring. Of cause, graduate school may sustained a bit longer. But the undergraduates will be impacted first.

I see these changes as positive. But institutions could do more and prepared ahead for what will come next.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Who Gets In — and Why

Original Article

Summary goes here!

I actually like the introductory phrase on the news page that lead to the article:

"What are the roles of race, money and athletic talent? How is merit defined? A sociologist spent 18 months in an admissions office, and shares the tensions and idealism he found."

I also like the author's reply:
“I would say that we need to stop expecting so much of the selective college admissions process,” he said. “If we are really interested in educational opportunity, we should be looking elsewhere. One problem with our public conversation on educational opportunity is that we focus too much on the admissions process and not on the systems that deliver young people to the system.”

When Collaboration Goes Too Far

Original Article

Summary goes here!

Well. In my opinion, device a rightful evaluation process is better than counting on students' ethic behavior.

It's not that ethic education isn't important, but it is less predicable. I have friend that totally against ethic measure - just take out the temptation. Let's say that you intentionally left a $100 bill on the sidewalk and try to check people's ethic behavior. What you may end up with is that the people got cought may have the second thoughts next time around. But! what really corrected his behavior is the afraid of bad reputation been circulated. So what we have here is that people's behavior is moded by external environment - Not a motivation of the honor itself.

Virtual Schooling Growing at K-12 Level

Original Article

Summary goes here!

People have different learning style. Higher ed should consider that and be flexible to response as pointed out in my article: Distance learning authentication and Role change of instructors.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

‘New Players, Different Game’

Original Article - An excellent article. Good questions and answers.

Summary goes here!

I guess the question left is, as a nation, shouldn't we measure the outcome?

If we follow the logic that for-profits are more or less governed by the same rule of goods- and services-producing corporation. The measurement of their outcomes is inevitable. But how about the traditional institutions?

An analogy could be drew between government agencies and private corporations. The efficiency of government agencies is constantly questioned. I suppose, as a whole, the higher ed will still work. But will we lost our edges as a nation, since the most talented students were not been pushed toward a stated standard, even though, this may be most relative to the undergraduates, assuming graduates are

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

SAT Scores Down Again, Wealth Up Again

Original Article - A report with some demographic info. ACT is getting popular.

Summary goes here!

Main body here

In Support of the E-Test

Original Article

Summary goes here!
** I understand that higher ed are indeed complicate and not all subjects area are as easy to be measured objectively. However, blindly refused to be measured objectively is simply irresponsible. At least, they should offer to try on certain fields. !

I thought higher ed are too complicated to be measured by multiple choice test. I shall conclude that these must be of limited use. In that case, I wonder how much over all saving is there.

Of cause, that is not my point. Higher Ed had claimed that it is too complicated to be measured across institutions. But if you can use multiple choice to test students, the complexity can't be in the subject itself but in the choice of subject to cover. This also mean, there is no tech problem in testing students knowledge. It's a matter of picking the subject to test.

For accountability of institutions, subjects can be determined by industry judging by the need of the industry. Institutions can teach what ever subject they want at what ever cost. However, the mechanism is there to hold down the price.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Search for Consensus in California

Original Article - if you have read Bob's comments see my reply at the end.

Summary goes here!

In general, the Unite State is a place where equality get praised and approved. The difficulty in setting regulations that governing for-profit institutions lies exactly on that.

Accreditation agencies based their accreditation criteria on all things but the direct measure of quality of the graduates. This approach is at the root of the problem. Without objective measures on graduates, no institution can defense the quality of their graduates and this leads to no standard for regulation to based on.

National and regional accredited institutions are based on different set of criteria for accreditation. But because none of them can prove that their graduates are better educated,
there is no convenient base to based the regulation on. Legislatures that trying to set criteria on for-profit institutions will always face the question of fairness - the fairness of judging which institution produces quality graduates. With the lack of direct quality measure of graduates, all they can do is to base their regulation on formalities, which surely didn't address fairness directly.

At this point, traditional and regional accredited institutions are, in general, claiming supority of their graduates. To facilitate the resolution, it is encouraged that if they can demonstrate their high standards of their graduates.

setting a rule that favor anyone of them is un-fair and problematic. It is true that for-profit could be driven by it's nature to overlook students' interest, the same can be said about traditional institutions - just look the way they defense their practices and their un-willingness in adopting charges.

National accredited institutions can easily challenge the

faces questions from for-profit that their graduates are not well certified even though those graduates from for-profit institutions may very well have the same problem.

I am not sided with for-profit but I am disappointed by the fact that traditional institutions and accreditation agencies' lack of courage in taking steps to resolve the issues facing the nation.

You will think traditional institutions are in the league of education and public service and that they care about the society. But appearantly a lot of them are clugged with self interest. With their elite status, they simply mind their own business and not submerge themselves to help establish a fair accountable system.

If and only if traditional institution can step up and say: 'Hold me on the same standard as those of for-profit', will provide the leveled ground for things to take shape.


Yes. I will treat them the same as long as they all got fined $500 for every instance. Besides, that is not the point. Our common laws apply to everyone equally, even though, it will apply heavier fine on repeated offender. However, strict rules for for-profit, just because they are more likely to have wrong behavior, is like profiling black, just because they are black but not because that particular black. I suppose, to reach mutual equality, traditional institutions should re-accredited by the national accreditation too!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Educating for Responsibility

Original Article

In my view, the responsibility is the most important thing in education. It should have been the K12 mission.
In my view, the responsibility is the most important thing in education. It should have been the K12 mission.

Through my education, the teacher that I remembered most is one that wasting time talking about views of life. Personally, I didn’t learn much intellectual stuff from him. But it broaden my view of the world and helped me embrace the humanity view of the world.

However, I believe the best way to teach responsibility is to lead by example. If parents care and acted responsibly, their kids will feel it. Even if there are cases that parents can’t actually fulfill their acts, kids will understand. It is the overall sincereness that counts.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Stuff Factor; Dorms gone deluxe

The Stuff Factor
Dorms gone deluxe

Summary goes here!
Is this right for our society?

I can only hope these are special cases. I don't know how these kids got to go to colleges. But it sure hard for me to believe that, with this kind of attachment to stuffs, they are sincere in pursuing knowledge.

If the slightest of my suspicion is true, I say we made the access to college too easy for them. We, as the parents, are loosing the sense of guidance.

Do you think University have too much money on their hand? I think so. Does all these new residence hall and remodeling cost parents anything? Does this contribute to the high price of higher ed?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Involvement is key to success

Original Article

Summary goes here!

What else you think that matters? Even though not all parent can do all that, but kids can feel the sincereness of their parents. Responsible parent brought responsible kids. Perfect score or not it doesn't matter. Responsible citizen is what is count.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Course Shopping and Its Meaning

Original Article

Summary goes here!
These things will not go away. No matter what faculty like to think about the consumer model. Students are evaluating instructors with varing objectives. We should approach this problem openly instead of simply try to limit it. It is understand that not all students behavior are constructive to their learning and to the society. But instead of applying rules, it may be better to guide.

Given students channels to talk about in an online forum. Read and understand the behavior. Acknowledge the existence of difference in students' learning behavior. Do the best to move students toward learning. Understanding that there are things that are NOT the responsibility of institution.

A Ranking That Would Matter

Original Article - Job rate to rate graduate program of history

Summary goes here!

I wonder what college would say about applying this to undergraduate programs. Objective measure is the way to handle the accountability problem.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Counterpoint: What About the Students?

Original Article - Haven't read yet!

Summary goes here!


A Better Way on Transfer of Credit

Original Article - Good comments and inside to issues

Summary goes here!

My thinking:
Institution can select their students if the out come of the institution is accountable, because they will be realistic when there are measures or reputations on the line.

Marketing is just a tool. Will marketing work or not it depends heavily on how it is regulated. The main benefits of marketing is the open to competition as means to benefits the society.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Comparative Indicators of Education in the United States and Other G-8 Countries: 2006

Original Article - Good reference to each country's system.

Summary goes here!
In general, Japan and Canada are doing good. It's very interesting that teachers in Japan start with almost the lowest salary and climbed to very high in the chart and higher than US through seniority.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

College Science Success Linked To Math And Same-Subject Preparation

Original Article

Summary goes here!

Well. Nothing surprise here. At this point in time, physics, in theory, can calculate all chemical reactions. But it still take a lot of computation. The simple intuitive principle that can be used to predict chemical reaction isn't even part of the core physic study. It belongs to theoretic topic of chemistry. Same thing happens in trying to explain all biological events with chemistry. Emperical rule derived from Biology is still more strait froward then using those from the element properties. There are things that chemistry can help. But at the entry level, chemistry principle is probably not even in the curriculum.

It is not that physics and chemistry is useless but they are simply not the right entry point for those courses.

Math are special in a way that it deal with numbers and quantifying things is the basic of all modern sciences including social science. The other aspect of math that is also at the core of modern sciences is the logical training. All modern sciences based their reasoning and conclusion on logic reasoning. Conclusions or findings are made via logical thoughts while examining facts.

More Students and Higher Scores for ACT

Original Article - Just a report. I wonder what kind of comments will show up

Summary goes here!

If college board have read the article College Science Success Linked To Math And Same-Subject Preparation, they should change their science section to include more subject related material. Currently, all you need to know to handle the science section is the basic science logic and some math. You don't really need subject specific knowledge. In principle, testing science logic is essential. The only problem I see is that it is testing something that is so basic that it does not measure subject specified material taught in high school and, therefore, missing measures that GPA is capable of - the efforts of students in mastering materials and also their readiness in taking more advanced courses. In a way, I think, this is why Asian higher ed students are entering the topic specified area earlier. They are tested on the subject specified material at the admission.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Race (Still) Matters

Original Article

Summary goes here!
Equality is what all these debate is about. Equality is all very well. But still the goal of equality is to improve human advances. The mis-use of equality will not achieve that goal.

The idea of equality is to promote the idea that everyone have a chance to success given the efforts individual put in. The mis-use of the idea of equality demote this idea. In practice, we know the communist is a disaster. The approach can't award blindly to everyone that have low resources. A great burden will be on the individual to make progress.

Why Differences in Community Colleges Matter

Original Article - not much on the article. Comments are mostly on for-profit.

Summary goes here!
As point out by all those comments that questioning the for-profits, retention and graduation rate simply not a good measure. Only if you can couple these rate with the measure of the outcome of the students, does these rate give you a good sense.

With the outcome of students measured, institutions can't just try to retained students but also need to make sure they learn. The graduation rate is the same, institutions can simply let students graduates since it will drop their marks on the measurement of students' outcome.

The problem: If traditional institutions don't even dare to take these measurements, I see no justices in imposing these on for-profits.

The claimed superiority is easy to achieve, the real tests is what is counted.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

How Not to Fix Accreditation

Original Article - Info on degree mill and un-accredited institutions.

We should after the end result first, the formality should not be our first choice.
As noted, the article provides some info on current status of states that lacks regulation of higher Ed institutions. It also point out flaws in "Why Accreditation Doesn't Work and What Policy Makers Can Do About It". The bottom line of the article: "Accreditation is not working well, and we certainly need a better system of quality control for American colleges and universities. But ACTA has not recommended a feasible replacement."

The suggestion of the article: "Colleges and universities at all levels should move toward making unified, required core curricula the bulk of the first two years of college.", is, unfortunately, a reserved approach and is not likely to have direct impact on building a quality control system. For one, the approach did not escape the norm of formality requirement as opposed to the quality requirement.

Graduates' quality is what is count and is what should be concerned. This answers directly to the qualification question of the instructor. I am sure Albert Einstein did not went through the graduate school. Bill Gates certainly did not got an MBA. But none of us can argue that they can't taught college - even the graduate school. There are a lot of people that are capable of teaching and it can end up with just a matter of dedications. We certainly did not require figure skate coaches be an ice skate champion themselves. Even thought, it's convincing to have one.

The cause of this accreditation wave is not just about the quality but also about the cost of higher education. In the cost allay, the formality requirements have cost associated with it. By insisting in formality, the cost is not directly linked to the cost of producing quality graduates but to the cost of maintaining the formality. This is like limiting ways manufactures can produce products - No disingenuous allowed! Ask yourself a question: Did you ever care how a product is made other than if a product is good.

The bottom line here: We should after the end result first, the formality should not be our first choice.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

College for Sale

Original Article

Summary goes here!
There are few points that require examination.

Are for-profit and non-for-profit institution different animals?

Does education mean the formality of institution or the gaining of knowledge of the students?

What is in the best interest for the society?

The final goal of governance is to benefit the society. The purpose of all law and regulation is to bring activities in the society toward benefit the society. The law and regulation are tools so are the formality of organizations. For-profit, non-for-profit and business rules alike are all just activities.

In the case of education, the perceived benefits to the society is the gaining of knowledge of students and not the formalities of organizations. The single and most important measure is the result of learning and is not about business logic or faculty governance. Even though, traditionally, higher education, with the faculty governance tradition, have been the voice of advocacy. Faculty governance should not be considered the major benefits of education. If so, we might as well forget about knowledge transfer but talk about social movements.

Traditionally, higher education are construct so that students are required to acquire general education in addition to their specialties. It, therefore, serves two purposes: the knowledge transfer and the social education.

With the world turning, general public are concerned more about the knowledge transfer ( read: finding a job) than the social value provided by the higher education. The question is how we resolve this problem. At this point in time, traditional institutions insist to provide the social value regardless of the cost associated with it, while the general public out cry for an affordable education for job. Corporations with their for-profit nature are, probably, more interested in knowledge transfer part of the higher education.

We all understand that, there are people that values the social education of the higher education. The problem is they will have to convince the general public the value. Otherwise, we will have to find other way to resolve this problem - We must understand that people is what made the society, you can't force them but to guide them. In a way, we have to give what they want and provide incentive to see benefits of other side of the coin.

As for-profit institutions entering the market, the for-profit nature of them will drive them to put less emphasise in social value and, therefore, lower the cost.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

States Work to Plug 'Brain Drain'

Original Article

Summary goes here!

Seems to me Pennsylvania's plan worked.

Colleges raise the price for some degrees

Original Article

Summary goes here!
At this point, this seems to simply reflect the reality of the cost. With cooperation providing scholarship to certain fields, it will reflect the reality of cooperations' need. Of cause, cooperations would asking for quality and this is where the quality will be checked.

These are reality measures and it's about time to bring traditional institutions into reality. In the past, faculties can simply claim the value of a degree without any reality check. With all these going on, the reality check will settle in.

Friday, July 27, 2007

College Science Success Linked To Math And Same-Subject Preparation

Original Article

There shouldn't be surprise here. However, all of these does not reduce the importance of physics and chemistry.
There shouldn't be surprise here. In order to explain chemical reactions through physics, it will take a high level physic knowledge which most introductory physics courses will not cover. The same is true in trying to explain biological effect through chemistry.

The role of the math has two fold: the quantitative skill and the logical training, which is the base in deriving today's scientific conclusion.

However, all of these does not reduce the importance of physics and chemistry. At the higher research level, the knowledge of physics and chemistry become crucial. With the advance of computer, Physics can start to calculate and predict chemical reactions and chemistry can begin to predict biological effects.

From the educational point of view, learning begins with things students familiar with. We do not teach student (math) group theory and expect it to benefit students in biology. The order of these course isn't as import as if students is ready for the material. For physics, even acceleration in mechanics requires algebra or calculus skill. I think this is how the order of the classes should be considered.

Understanding Gaps Among Asian Groups

Original Article

People can learn to behave different. These don’t have to be inherited. But parents definitely have big influence on their child.

n general, Chinese, Japanese and Korean share similar culture than others. They also more or less share Buddhist that is originated from India.

Southeast Asian share some culture from China and India.

Beside this, geographic factors also set in.

My take of this is: There are factors that influence people’s behavior and made them different but the race is not the deciding factor. People can learn to behave different. These don’t have to be inherited. But parents definitely have big influence on their child.

A Senate Bill (S. 1642) Introduced and Passed

Original Article
chart describing the major accreditation-related provisions of S. 1642

Summary goes here!
The Senate bill is so conservative, American can expect no answer to their far cry of accountability and lower higher education cost. All the debates about college rating and the quality of student achievement are rest in the dust. The baring of Secretary essentially take the executive branch out of the equation and this means 5 more years before anything can be done. SAD indeed.

Friday, July 06, 2007

New Standard for Getting In

Original Article

Summary goes here!
Well. I hope this is not The standard. For one, we have to realize that not all people are out-going or team-player. I am not so sure people like Einstein, Schroedinger or some of my professor at school will get good recommendations. I don't know if play-nice a major factor in graduate school. Or maybe it more important to look at their subject matter.

It seems to me that in these days, the team player is emphasized in all job area. However, given that the research is a hard work and, a lot of time, a lonely work. This kind of rating may not come as easy and relative to the graduate work.

People are talking about diversity, shouldn't this include personality? Wouldn't this index biased to certain personality? I suppose not all genius are lonely but I would certainly think some of them are. Should we deprive their chances of contribute to human science journal? I don't think so.

Debate Under Duress in California

Original Article

Summary goes here!
Well. People seem to have trouble understand the root of the problem. With no standard to start with, there is no way people is going to agree on the standard.

If WASC accredited schools can't show how well they hold their standard, how will you be able to judging the quality of the private? The Stanford's objection is odd, I can only think this is just self-protectionism. It wanted to be treated the same just like any other WASC institutions. Un-fortunately, without objective standard, even WASC accredited school are not and should not be treated equal.

If people can agree that the single standard needed is the outcome of students' learning, the whole issue will reduced to one issue, even though that issue is still a big issue.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

GPA Oriented University Admission Just Won’t Revitalize Public Education

Original Article

Summary goes here!
We have to understand that the social influence of parent and school teacher is inevitable. With teach holding a decisive factor on students' grade, flaw is inevitable too. Don't think this will happen in US? Think again!

So. Does objective tests or this kind of influence provide more social justice in terms of social economic status? Do you really believe teachers can hold against all the temptation? How much resource do we need to spend in monitoring the moral status of all the teachers?

Friday, June 29, 2007

2 Kinds of Part-Time Students

Original Article

Summary goes here!
The data shows that family support do count - those that like typical full-time students.

This is my thoughts of reading comments from hard working needed students:
In general, I support the idea that capable students should obtained support from society to help them complete their degree in an efficient fashion. On the other hand, these people should provide feedback to the society. The basic idea behind this is that, for the interest of the public, we optimized our investment in capable people. The capable people should also recognized that their success is an effort of society and is to contribute back to the society.

There are, of cause, a lot of thing to think about how this can be achieved. Things like how to define capable and how to make contribution an obligation. How this whole idea fitting in the current culture. A wealthy talent people may not want to be held down by the obligation and prefer to pay the education their way.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Debate: Top Critic vs. ‘U.S. News’ Editor

Original Article

Summary goes here!
Personally, I don't really care about ranking. The more important thing is to provide consumer good product information. Consumer is more interested in things that fit their need.

What If Higher Ed Funds Don’t Help Economy?

Original Article

Summary goes here!

Of cause there are a lot of factors in economy development. For those that criticize of the report, I wonder if they criticize those presidents when they made that kind of claims?

The report does made it clear that the simple factor of investing money in higher ed will not bring up the local economy. To bring up the local economy, it call for a coordinated efforts and objective analysis like what I pointed out earlier in my 2003 article.

For a state to prosper, it need to evaluate its strength and taking available resource into consideration. At the same time, it need set its eye in the future and asking a lot of ifs. For example, Alaska is rich in crude oil. It maybe fine to rely on the resource for now. But a responsible government should think about the future and try to answer the question what if the resource run out? The plan should, therefore, includes stretegy build up of other industries using its crude oil as the foundation.

Campus Accountability Proposals Evolve

Original Article

... systems should be build so that the responsibility is not an option (a.k.a voluntary, self-governing)

It's very interesting. I guess when there is a pressure they will response - in a not bonding way. I guess, the question is, then, will public satisfied with this kind of response and procedure.

Personally, I am not satisfied. My personal believe is that systems should be build so that the responsibility is not an option (a.k.a voluntary, self-governing). I wonder what will happen if a criminal justice system is build on such a ground. Say, let's allow criminals to set the sentence for themselves. Do you think this is like going back in history, where law is the tools of the powerful.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Questioning College-Wide Assessments

Original Article - see comment by Bob at State U

Summary goes here!

I am in the opinion that the testing service companies should work harder to have employers back them up in using their tests. After all, it is employers that fulfill the value bill - in a realistic way.

Industries had complained the quality of institution graduates with vague (a.k.a critical thinking) specifications without following through with specific skill requirement in terms of how they think it can be evaluated. The reason, of cause, can well be that evaluation of these high level skills is not their expertise. On the other hand, evaluating skill is what testing companies do.

I think if industries is really serious about their concern, they should work with testing companies to further define their needs. Without well defined goals, no one can efficiently reach the goal.

*If industries don't really know what they mean by 'critical thinking', I think all these are just FUD.

============== drafts
Testing industry should work with employers to create tests that employers will use to hire. The testing industry at this point is trying to sell it to education sectors in the view that people involved in education are more care about education. But the truth is that test created this way may not directly serve the employers' need.

My vision on this is for testing industry to work with employers in creating test that will be used by employers to hire. If this do happen than it's really not matter what it is measuring. Just imaging that the high score on those test do get hired in high proportion, institutions/departments that turn out high score will get parents/students' attention.

All organizations are serving the public. Institutions is of no differences. They serve publics' need. Parents and students is a big part of the public that institution serve. There are others that institutions serve. The basic idea, however, is that institutions will get their share of the revenue for the part they serve. Institutions can teach what ever they want but if what they teach is of no value to students (a.k.a the job), I doubt they should derive their revenue from students. This does not force professors to give up their researches, it simply means that they should derive their revenue from research grant.

All organizations exist to serve the public. Higher Ed institutions is of no difference. They serve publics' need. Parents and students is a big part of the public that institution serves. There are others that institutions serve too. The basic idea, however, is that institutions will get their share of the revenue for the part they serve. For example, researcher could and should derive their revenue from grant which can be sponsored by federal, institution or state legislature.

Instructors should derive their revenues from the things they teach which is valued by students and eventually valued by employers.

Institutions can teach what ever they want but if what they teach is of no value to students (a.k.a the job), I doubt they should derive their revenue from students. This does not force professors to give up their researches, it simply means that they should derive their revenue from research grant.

Institutions have claimed that they provided valuable 'critical thinking' training for their students. But like pointed out by ... the real value haven't been very convincing yet. As we all know the claimed value isn't as real as a proved value. If industries willing to bet their money on those claim, it will really show the value of it.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Senate’s Higher Ed Act Renewal

Original Article

Summary goes here!

I just can’t see why traditional institutions have trouble with the requirement that they should “not deny the transfer of a student’s credit based SOLELY on the accreditation status of the institution from which the student is transferring.".

Without checking into a student’s ability how can you decide what that student’s ability. If you do check into a student’s ability, why can’t you deny the transfer based on your evaluation. What this seems to me is that institutions simply don’t bother to check a student’s ability just like they don’t want to check the ability of their graduates.

These are strong words and it may not apply to all institutions. But I really think this gives public a really bad impression about the mind set of our traditional institutions.


Personally, I have no trouble in admitting that the level of rigorous of for-profit institution can be questionable. On the other hand, the level of rigorous, claimed but not proved, by traditional institutions can be questionable too.

The main point is that the change of the language basically gives traditional institutions free ticket to waive the evaluation. Beside discrimination, I can find a better word for it.

Personally, I taught community college before and I know most of my students aren't in par with 4 year colleges even if we use the same textbook - I did not grade them with 4 year college standard - will you? Gave most of them C or D?

If community college students are entitled to have their credit evaluated by receiving institutions why shouldn't students from nationally credited institutions, since both of them are under par.

For those that claim the superiority of regionally credited institutions, why is it so difficult for these superior institutions to prove that for-profits are under par?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Questioning the Admissions Assumptions

Original Article
Check Gary Hanson and Cal's comments
Ask Tony Broh the detail of the 'admissions index

Summary goes here!

Of cause not all tests are measuring the right thing. But a test is remote from subjective influences. Haven't we learn enough in the dark age where science is dictated by subjective directions instead of objective observations?

The article did not disqualify objective measurement but the one SAT test.

A persistent grades indicates a person's consistent attitude and his work ethic which does have a lot to say about his success. However, an A in one school isn't the same as that of another school. How would you be able to equalize that?

Friday, June 08, 2007

Congressional Timeout for Spellings

Original Article

US Department of Education may not handle the situation correctly, but the need for leveling the playground remains.

Yes. I agree with Fred's observation on the 'tradition' role of higher ed institutions. However, that does not mean tradition is all good.

For one thing, all organizations are part of the society and should response to the society and this is the basic idea why governments do control private organizations through law and regulations. But in essense, all organizations are lived to serve the society's need. The consumer model may not describe the relationship between students and institutions properly. But it does put it in prospective. The argument that higher ed should be exempt from federal requlation is simply not sustainable especially when what accreditation agencies hold on to is the federal recognition.

In society, capitalism is simply a proved way of offering services in an effecient way. At the core of the capitalism is the idea of leveling the playing ground. Law and regulation are introduced to level the playing ground if necessary. The best way level the playground is to set the objective rules and set institutions free to explore they options.

In recent years, higher ed had become hot items in the society. Society began to pay attention to how to make it more efficient.
Like all industries, the idea of leveling the playground come to mind. Currently, accreditation agencies are membership based and are self regulated. This creates the environment that set those traditional institutions in a prestige status and prevent the leveling of playground.

So. US Department of Education may not handle the situation correctly, but the need for leveling the playground remains.

My second post:
The client model do shift most of the responsibility of learning to the students but it does not shield institutions or professors, for that matter, from respond to the need of the society. (I do not reject that model as was shown in my post First on the Docket: Accreditation.

But, that is really not the main point of the accreditation. All professional are still compete on the same ground. When I looking for professionals I will check their references and I would not necessary buy a package. I will negotiate my deliverable. Even though not all records are readily available, it does possible to check Doctors' malpractice.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Feeling Squeezed

Original Article - InsideHigherEd: What people think about the high price of higher ed
Making Opportunity Affordable - Original survey report

Summary goes here!
To be fair to traditional institutions, I think most traditional institutions probably did not intentionally changed their practice over the years. But with the environment changed, they are failed in recognizing them and made the appropriate changes - which, in a way, is understandable knowing the self-governing nature of it.

Because of the current accreditation system, these traditional institutions are in a upper-hand position and is unlikely to change dramatically. So the price for the higher ed from these institution isn't going to change dramatically.

However, if we take closer look at the situation, we may realize that, for most parent or students, what they want is a good job prospective which may not requires all the bell and whistles that came with these traditional institutions.

The current accreditation system with it established way of qualifying institutions, prevent the innovation of new breed of institutions that could provide adequate job preparation for students at a low cost. For example, if few retired professors get together to provide instructions on accounting online. They can really lower the cost - $6/month for hosting free online education software (e.g. moodle). Course material from online resources etc... I believe no one can argue that this isn't possible. What make this impossible is the accreditation system of today. Without accreditation, they can't provide students a piece a paper that is deem so important in today's hiring practice (in contrast to selecting their employee via objective evaluation).

The question is, of cause, how can we prevent degree mills? The answer, as expected, should be based on objective evaluation on their graduates. This will give organizations entire freedom while holding the bottom line.

U.S. Department of Education could start with fields that are easy to implement and accredit organizations that meet the objective measurement. Taking this route will give public choices and vote with their money. Traditional institutions can continue work the way they want until some day, some of these new organizations is going to produces higher quality graduates that meet businesses needs at a much competitive price.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

10 Percent Plan Survives in Texas

Original Article

Summary goes here!
Again, if unlimited resource are available, there would be no arguments. The problem is exactly that the resources is not unlimited. So selection is a must. The question is, however, how can you predict who will provide the best interest for the public. The only reasonable approach is based on previous performance and this is where the admission policy comes in. Given all resource are equal, objective measurements is the only logical way. The un-equal in resource is what brought all these public policies.

Suppose that all high school are equal(demograpic etc...) , then that state is in a better position to impose this rule. However, when this situation is achieved, an objective measurement may be a even better criteria simply because this remove the human factors.

Key GOP Senator Warns Spellings

Original Article

Summary goes here!
I still questioning why there aren't any industry leader to create job hunting companies with objective measures. To me that's the best way to get things worked out. Institutions are free to do what they want and, therefore, there is no complain or push back from institutions. At the same time, companies that complained that there isn't qualified graduates can demonstrate they point. The published evaluation data can serve as the guide for students and parents. What a wonderful idea?

Is it practical?

Friday, May 25, 2007

Back Off on Accreditation, States Urge U.S.

Original Article

if we can't even persuade our traditional institutions to demonstrate the quality of their graduates, I don't see how can we hold the for profits responsible.

Well. As I said before and I say it again. With the for profits in the market place, we simply can be naive about what they might do. However, the problem is that if we can't even persuade our traditional institutions to demonstrate the quality of their graduates, I don't see how can we hold the for profits responsible.

I still hold high hope on the pro-capitalism. Capitalism does not mean no regulations. It actually mean the need of objective measurements.

Cheating Across Cultures

Original Article

to normal foreign students, as long as they understand the requirements they should be held responsible. ... environment may have certain effects on the behaviors — As higher ed become an important economic factor in the US, these behaviors can happen.
First of all, I am immigrant from Asian, and I studied in US and taught at US. Here’s what I would say.

When I just got here, I do admire the general honor code of American — not everyone but the majority. As everyone understand, not all Asian are cheaters and not all White are honesty.

There are definitely culture differences but I do believe there is no excuses if the expectation have been communicated effectively. I was not been taught about paraphrasing or to quote the source until just before I came to US and went through a culture camp which not everyone from my country is required to attend. As to the language barrier, I do have students that real have trouble understand English and I will say communicate with them is definitely necessary if you even allow them to your class. But as to normal foreign students, as long as they understand the requirements they should be held responsible. By the way, after spending half my lifetime here, I still not certain if I can serve effective jury duty which I, so far, is not willing to take part.

In my native country, expectation are high and students are under pressure to not to fail. I don’t mean this to be an excuse, but I do think this environment may have certain effects on the behaviors — As higher ed become an important economic factor in the US, these behaviors can happen. As you can see, there will be kids that do not need to cheat to success (they either work hard or are gifted (which I never valued much), and will hate those who cheat. On the other hand, when pressure are high, you will see people resort to other means to pass. The environment adopt to this by more carefully monitoring the evaluation process. So the testing environment is well monitored and in class test is the dominate way of evaluating students.

After saying these, the linking of high performance of Asian to cheating is miss leading especially if we are talking about monitored tests. You are not likely to cheat on that unless there is a security breach of the exam administrator or if you count the study of historical exam material as cheating too. To me, there is no crime to study these material if they aren’t anything illegal. To be realistic, you can’t given the same questions over and over again unless you think memorizing those facts are of evaluation value. Just think about what will happen if driver license test never change the order of the question — it just asking for trouble. And you sure kids of any race is not tempting?

0. As long as expectation are communicated, everyone is responsible.
1. The competing environment have its effects.
2. Language bareer could be real.
3. This can happen in US with the increasing role higher ed played in people's financial future.
4. Not all white kid can resist the temping.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Programming with Pictures

Original Article - Using 3D game in teaching programming

Summary goes here!
The efficiency of method is questioned. It may help some low level students. But are we promoting the culture of shifting students' duty to instructors'? There is nothing wrong with help but if you are going to produce high quality students, sooner or later they will have to be able to take on the learning seriously and be able to learn with imagination.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

‘College Prep’ Without ‘College’ or ‘Prep’

Original Article

My believe is that the cause is the lack of responsibility - which likely is our fault for not teaching them( kids) that.
“when students enter algebra I unprepared, the teacher may adjust the instruction to a lower level accordingly.” — We are all human and it likely you will adjust your course level accordingly and I don’t think there is anything wrong. However, this is part of the reason of the grade inflation, it’s may not be intentional, but effects are real.

Now the question is what if the dominant school culture is not to take academic seriously? — I am sorry to say that’s exactly what I felt while working with my kids and their friends.

I will say the solution is to set objective goals and let the truth speak the reality.

If people in the world with less resources can do better in these objective tests, shame on us.


As pointed out by J Miller: “behaving more like adults than pre-adults!". Unfortunately, I am questioning if we, as the adults, did well as a society. I think the resistance to state (Nebraska), nation or world wide objective tests say a lot about ourselves.

As to the point of activities, isn’t that’s what we, as an adults, should device the environment? Do we understand that everyone only have 24 hours? There simply no way for a person to do all. We need teach our youth how and what to choose. Do we weight part time jobs more than academics? What’s the reasonable balances?

To Randy Vlasin
Executive Director
FutureForce Nebraska

I know the importance of research data. On the other hand, I questioning the importance of research data. We know that 3rd world countries are getting competitive, I wonder if they have
the luxury in doing all these researches - I do not imply that they will not face the same problem we have today and following the same path of requesting research data.

As pointed out by J Miller at:
which is exactly what I experienced. There are kids that are bright but not taking academic seriously. As you said yourself, the big environment is different from ours and that of 3rd world countries.

The first question is do you think is there anything wrong with it and why? Of cause, from kids point of view, there is nothing wrong with it. Should we believe that we have a better vision
than out kids?

My believe is that the cause is the lack of responsibility - which likely is our fault for not teaching them that. There are too many things in our society that does not holding the responsibility at its highest standard. The resistant to a state wide comparable objective test is a good example - we are not setting examples for our kids that taken responsibility as due.

Of cause our kid is not lazy, they just not sure what is important. To them, the constant communication is so important to keep them informed of gossips. I wonder who is responsible in showing them that gossips is of limited value in fulfilling their current and future duties.

One more thing. When we cut too many slacks for them, we are not doing our jobs! Teachers
may not up to the multimedia, but if our kids become depend on multimedia to learn then they loss the ability of imagination even though that it's possible that this generation no longer rely on imagination to see 3D structures. There are differences between helping and spoiling.


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Advance for SAT-Optional Movement

Original Article

There are ways to measure the ability. SAT failed to measure it. However, this doesn't mean it can't be done. The major problem of Grade is that they are standards with no standards.

I, in general, believe in objective measurements. I, however, disappointed by the response of Ms. Scoropanos. For one, ignoring what happened is just not right. For two, to support her statement, she should have provide her supporting material.

"The conclusion the admissions team came to was that high school grades in strong math and science courses in high school were the key factor, not test scores." What this mean to me is that there are ways to measure the ability. And if SAT failed to measure it, they must didn't employed the right measurements. However, this doesn't mean it can't be done.

The major problem of Grade are that they are standards with no standards. And I would like to see anyone that oppose the objective measurements to provide a solution to resolve the standards of no standards problem.

Cheating on a Different Level

Original Article - Cheating at graduate school

Teachers are responsible for designing methods that measure the achievement.
Higher Ed should re-think what and how to measure.

It is important to see if students understand the concept of adding numbers, but limiting their use of calculator in all math courses is ridiculous. Teachers are responsible for designing methods that measure the understanding — A homework assignment is a bad way of measuring understanding while the calculator-free in class test is a better one.

In the past, resources are limited and professionals are much relied on things they memorized and the limited resources they have at hand. Their career performance are limited in a similar way. These days, however, resources are abundance and the performance is no longer heavily linked to what people memorized rather than what information they can find and how well they can use it. Also, with the easiness of communication, consulting with their peer is part of the performance measure.

So. When instructors try to evaluate their students they have a lot to think about. For example, my students were never evaluated by their homework. They got unlimited opportunities to get their answer right and got full credits. They can talk to anyone. My idea behind it is that homework is a learning tool. It helps to clarify students’ thoughts. The test is the real measure of their achievement.

This world is evolving and higher ed suppose to be the one with forward thinking and vision. Let’s pay more attention to what should be measured and how should it be measured rather than counting on students’ ethic conducts, which, at least, is not what most instructors try to measure at the moment. So. Until the day we have integrity test established, we just have to know the limits and work around it.

In response to Prof. Manley,

Well. It seems that you have clear thoughts on the need of calculation devices of your students. That's great. Unfortunately, my point is simply to demonstrate that time has changed and resources available to students are growing and limiting students' use of these resources in their learning process is simply not justified.

Instructors are the one that can decide what to measure and how to measure it. In deciding on what to measure, they should take today's working environment into consideration. In deciding on how to measure it, they should device the test so that reliable measure can be made.

Devices, resources and even students' ethic are here to stay and instructors are the one that control the measuring process. Who else do you think that is responsible for the fail of the measurement? - I do not mean that threaten students with legal action is not an option, but we do need to think about the effectiveness of getting things done.