Tuesday, June 27, 2006

We Saw it Coming: Nickleby for Higher Education

NY Times article today about the draft report of Secretary Spellings's panel on "revamping" higher ed. Here are some snips:

The report by the panel appointed last year by Education Secretary Margaret Spellings was highly critical of the nation's institutions of higher education. It said there was a lack of accountability to show that students were learning, that college costs have risen too high, and that "unacceptable numbers of college graduates" were entering the workforce without skills that employers say they need. [As my colleague Bill McInerney points out, "These are precisely the arguments marshaled against public K-12 schools before they pushed through NCLB."]

But it is this final paragraph that has me scratching my head.

The draft also advocated testing. It recommended that states require public institutions to measure student learning using tests like the Collegiate Learning Assessment, a recently devised test of student skills in math, reading and critical thinking. And it said colleges should then post the results of such tests to show how much students had learned in a manner that would allow students to compare the performance of colleges.

Reducing the college experience to a "skills" test of math, reading, and critical thinking. Using a "recently devised test" to do this. I have never heard of this test, but I guess I need to learn all about it (update, I am learning about it, see the link.)
What an impoverished view of a college education! Why even bother talking about Pestalozzi's hand, heart, and head?

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