>News that Margaret Spellings’ ominous-sounding Commission on the Future of Higher Education has been advocating nationalized, standardized testing for higher education (not to get in, but to assess what a student got out of it) has been reported a bit already, and assessment has been a movement and problem at the accredidation level for some time, but now the NYT is covering it, so now it must be important, you know.
Anyway, there’s no way I have the time and energy right now to cover all that is mind-boggling wrong with this push, so I will limit myself to two points which I think are key, and which should be addressed and thought about long before any of the other wrong-headed problems with any of this.
1) If a college student — an independent adult living away from home with myriad distractions and responsibilities outside of school, and the onus of time management and study completely on his/her shoulders — fails to learn, is that necessarily a reflection of the quality of the teaching?
2) If the Secretary of Education and her commission members want to test every graduating college student in the nation in the areas of critical thinking, writing, and problem solving, I say: Be my guest. Of course, you’ll be grading it all, right Margaret?