Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Mechanism and responsibility

Original Article

Summary goes here!

===== Comment posted at on Apr. 20, 2010
I posted the idea before and will try again.

I will limited my discussion to math and engineer programs so that we can focus on the idea other than be drawn into the fight of measuring the soft-skill (liberal art/critical thinking) - but don't forget that IQ is measured.

For math and those hard-skill, I think community colleges should use or establish some standard objective measurement or test that is not managed by instructor of the course or program. The goal of a course or program is to score high on the test - yes I know this is nothing new and it's like an AP or test preparing center.

However, I like people to ponder on this idea. If students know the goal is not set by the instructor, they may very well see instructor as their ally that can help them. It also emphasizes that they are the one that have to achieve the goal, the instructors are just there to show them practices and steps that will help them reach the goal. Students that do not follow those suggested steps or practices will have no one to blame but themselves since the instructor did not create or manage the test.

Yes. There is nothing new here. But I do think if we adopt this practice, it could very well change the way how our education works - I firmly believe that the true study begins with the student.

*Roderick Bell, than for the nice words. I am not bright but I work hard. The sad thing is that I got a lot of other things I like to do. Writing simply isn't one that I spend most of my time. Yes, it takes me a while to catch errors and there are times I simply limited by my vocabulary. If I got time, I would try thesaurus. But, well everyone only got 24 hours.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

No Letup From Washington

Original Article

Summary goes here!
Quote an insider's words: 'If you don't do it yourself, others will do it for you.'

I don't like him - too calculative or sophisticate if you will. But at least there are some insides.

Please read comments on the original post and you will see the view of scholars - not one but more. The sophisticate and unwillingness is just unbelievable. And you wonder why people and administrations are upset with Universities?

The argument that 'GPA is a much better predictor' is not good enough. Because this leaves out a lot of pre-conditions. First of all, it is totally subjective. I can tell you that my A is definitely much harder to get than my peer instructors. Yes, if you compare my A students with my B students, they are definitely at different caliper. But I can't tell you that with my B students and other instructors' A students. And we all heard of grade inflation. Besides, even myself, can I flunk all my students just because they are ill-prepared? No, I will adjust my grades so I can show their differences and achievements. What does this lead us? If you can establish the curriculum standard and define clearly what is to be an A. Then I will agree that WITHIN that entity, the GPA is a good measurement. So how much will it cost to establish this across all the institutions?
The argument here is that to establish the GPA as a GOOD predictor, you need the same efforts as to establish good measurement. The thing is that everyone like to define the good, themselves.

I suspect that the GPA we have today is loosely defined statistical measure of the efforts of students. Assuming talents are equally likely distributed across the gender, race, geographic boundaries. Assuming teachers are generally un-biased and rank their students on things they learn. Also assuming that ... With all these assumptions, we COULD?? say that high GPA PROBABLY mean a students with right learning attitude and willing to put in efforts. These students will success no matter where you put them. Even if they were from a low standard learning community, they will put in extra efforts - even though with time crunches they may not catch up with their peers during the school year. But with life long learning, they will doing just fine.

But we have to understand that this is only a possible explanation to why GPA could predict. But it does not address what the public is asking for.

Friday, April 02, 2010

AP: Good but Oversold?

Original Article

Working on ...
To stick with the topic, I think the book is a welcome publication. Whether it is good or not, it's an independent examination of AP courses.

As to comment to the comments, here it goes:
Personally, I don't see AP as an evil. To adopt it more or not is not AP's problem. Un-prepared students? It's not AP's problem either - even though it could be schools' or College Board's problem.

One thing I see positive about the AP is that it raised the bar for today's high school courses and let people see what is possible to get out of our high school students. Personally, I don't think AP is just for wealthy kids. For motivated kids? Yes. I understand that there are real real poor people that need help. But except those, if you are fifteen and are fed and have books in your hand and the library, I don't think you can blame anyone for not studying.

For Judith, I have no idea what her problem is. 'no matter how advanced the high school course' is. Are schools the only place you can learn stuff in this modern age of free information? I don't think so.

For the HR guy, I hope you see my point of promoting the test-out for credits. To me, it is not students' problem that schools can't find a good way to evaluate students academic achievements and, therefore, require them to sit in the class to receive credits.