Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Assessment in higher education: what business wants

It turns out, at least according to this survey, described in this article, that business leaders don’t think much of standardized tests as assessment tools. Shockingly, they’d much prefer students apply their knowledge in a "real world" setting (an internship, for example) or perform an intellectual task that’s comprehensive in its scope (a senior thesis, for example). They’re right, I think, that these tasks require students to think and integrate, to gain a synoptic view, and to work independently, rather than just spitting back what professors have given them. These tasks lend themselves more to qualitative evaluation of individuals and offer less basis for the aggregation required for institutional comparison. Some folks in the Bush Administration’s Department of Education won’t be too happy about this.

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"These tasks lend themselves more to qualitative evaluation of individuals and offer less basis for the aggregation required for institutional comparison."

Would not qualitative evaluation also lend itself to more application of subtle affirmative action activity? In other words, is this a two-edged sword?

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