Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Knippenberg on assessment

Joe rightly thinks that true assessment is difficult enough, but a government enforced assessment and testing regime is an outrage and we should all oppose it. We have been fighting (and losing) this problem at Ashland for years. We have been forced to do some very silly things to keep the enforcers happy or at least placated. Imagine doing this sort of thing on a national level, overlooked and guarded by government officials. Joe’s is right on all of it.

Discussions - 6 Comments

Joe, Some liberals are with you on this. Nice job.

Yes, I agree, the title was a little odd: "Conservatives Should Be Leery. . ."

I agree that everyone should be leery, but right now alleged conservatives are the ones most interested in pursuing this agenda. They’re the ones, above all, who needed the talking-to.

Faculty and colleges need to get out in front of this. This movement will not go away with a change in administration. The word accountability is buzzing around and it needs to be taken seriously. What is it that liberal arts courses, programs and colleges are trying to add to students? To say critical thinking or writing skills or skepticism will not get us very far. We need to be more specific about what as well as the why. The day for professors and colleges to say that they are too unique or non-comparable is passing. There is a good deal that conservatives and liberals can agree upon that could lead to practices that show the value added to students as well as preserve the independence of academics and colleges. New rules on what will be acceptable for schools to submit for assessment and student achievement may be enacted by May, so time is not with us on this. Very good piece by Joe. Many thanks.

Jeff Martineau - Where is the coalition to join? Where’s the parade that is going in a promising direction?

And why must we assume that this needs (1) federal intervention, and (2) common standards?

Steve - Certainly we do not agree with any of this, but the reality is that this administration, along with those that have been promoting the great advances in assessment have sold the political types and know-nothing appointees that this can and should be done. To the extent that faculty or colleges say that they should alone evaluate or that it is not possible to fairly compare, this has lead the vocational types to beat the drum even louder as they have been following this tune for decades - licensing exams, etc. So now they are getting an ear and companies like Blackboard are telling colleges how easy it really is. We need to publicly, as in op/eds in mainstream publications, defend the need for liberal arts colleges, the unique missions and the need for prudence and judgment in evaluation. We are losing the battle to those that think only that which can be measured is of value. We need to reach out to libs on this, and we need to be talking about what is highest in education - not merely job skills and we need to start talking about and defending a curriculum that addresses the highest and gets at the needed skills for jobs. The possibility is that in the near future professors will be less in control because of state or fed regs, so we need to cut it off and show that accountability and quality are attainable.

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