The Wawascene was created by Dr. Mark Stock, former Superintendent of the Wawasee Community School Corporation. Due to its local popularity, Dr. Stock has left the blog site to future Wawasee administrators.

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Friday, September 29, 2006

More calls for standardized testing in college

A recent federal report is now calling for more "accountability" from universities and colleges, including a call for standardized testing.

I guess it was inevitable. But...aren't college students already tested enough?

Most professions already test their incoming people. Lawyers take the bar exam; Doctors pass their residencies and other exams; teachers take their NTE's and PRAXIS tests; accountants pass the CPA exam; cosmetologists take their state exams; airplane mechanics pass the Airframe and Powerplant tests; nurses take the nursing exams ...etc.

Presto... the magic answer to every educational issue ... another test.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Testing appears to be only the beginning. Another part of the proposal is the creation of a database that includes student information. Ostensibly this data will be used to help "consumers" rate the educational effectiveness of different colleges and universities. According to some reports, this database was going to be set up using student social security numbers. Because of privacy concerns, the use of student's social security numbers in the database was dropped in the pre-publication of the document. It remains to be seen how they plan to create a student database without some identification.

For more information, google "A Test of Leadership" to see the entire document. For another point of view, look at the press release from Sen. Lamar Alexander regarding this proposal. You can see it on the senator's website at www.alexander.senate.gov. Click on the "press" link and select the press release dated Sept. 26.

Dr. Mark J. Stock said...

I do agree with parts of the report. I see nothing troubling about helping poor students have a better chance at financial aid for example.

My concern is the extension of problems I see in K-12 reform reaching up to college.

The narrowing of curriculum and focusing on generalized skills measured by standardized tests seems to me...the opposite of what college should represent.

Our university systems are the envy of the world. People come from all over to attend our schools. I see no reason to handicap colleges with standardized tests and "accountability" measures when college itself is purely optional.

Talk about a "wet blanket" on creativity and innovation...that would do it. Judging all universities on a single nationalized, standardized test at each "grade level" in college could drastically alter the college environment.

Maybe this isn't the intent - but maybe that wasn't the intent of NCLB either.

Anonymous said...

There is also the issue of who is going to design this test? What are the cut scores going to be? Will students take it in the spring semester or the fall semester? How much will they have to pay in tuition to prepare for the test?
Will the test be more or less difficult than the Indiana driver's exam? I can't wait for the editorial board of the Star to weigh in.