The Square Circuit

Academia, parenthood, living in a bankrupt city, and what I read in the process.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

no frat boy left behind

Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings spoke yesterday to the National Press Club about her plans to improve higher education in the U.S., hinting again at her desire to institute standardized testing in universities:

“No current ranking system of colleges and universities directly measures the most critical point, student performance and learning. We absolutely should. And Action 4 under my plan will provide matching funds to colleges and universities and states that collect and publicly report student learning outcomes.”

I'm a big proponent of using outcomes assessment in teaching and program development. But given what the administration has accomplished with No Child Left Behind, it's hard to imagine that they'd test for anything except rote memorization--precisely the uncritical, illiberal, unreflective, vocational-training kind of education for which the business community is agitating.

“Nobody envisions a one-size-fits-all test of student ability,” the TIMES reported Spellings as saying in response to a question. Sure.


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