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.

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