"A federal commission approved a final report on Thursday that …calls for public
universities to measure learning with standardized tests, federal
monitoring of college quality and sweeping changes in financial aid." (via NY Times)
Change finaid? Great! Standardized testing? standardized testing??!!! Ok. So, the panel was convened to see whether or not graduating students are competitive in the global market. To me, that is based on the underlying assumption that we are educating students solely to be workers, and that a college education is pretty much job training. As a strong believer in liberal education, my back is already up. But "job training" or not, to assume that what we aim to teach in higher ed – critical engagement with materials and texts, self-sufficient thinkers, educating the whole person, you know, those lofty goals – can be measured with standardized testing is ludicrous. Maybe it’s just the climate of fear that I’ve been living in lately, but regardless of the fact that the committee‘s work remains recommendations for the moment, this is pretty seriously scary to me.
Thank you to the following people and organizations for opposing the recommendations: David Ward, committee member, president of the American Council on Education; the Association of American Universities; the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.