So Congress decides the best thing to do is to institute standardized testing at the college level.
A higher education commission named by the Bush administration is examining whether standardized testing should be expanded into universities and colleges to prove that students are learning and to allow easier comparisons on quality.
Charles Miller, a business executive who is the commission's chairman, wrote in a memorandum recently to the 18 other members that he saw a developing consensus over the need for more accountability in higher education.
"What is clearly lacking is a nationwide system for comparative performance purposes, using standard formats," Mr. Miller wrote, adding that student learning was a main component that should be measured.
Mr. Miller was head of the Regents of the University of Texas a few years ago when they directed the university's nine campuses to use standardized tests to prove students were learning. He points to the test being tried there and to two other testing initiatives as evidence that assessment of writing, analytical skills and critical thinking is possible.
(Karen W. Arenson, The New York Times)
Why the fuck is a businessman dictating education policy? Someone needs to explain to him that all that standardized tests actually determine is whether (1) the student comes from a rich family, (2) the teacher was teaching to the test, and (3) the students are capable of memorizing. I have yet to see any evidence that critical thinking skills can be tested through multiple choice.
It's pretty clear to me that all attempts at national standardized testing, even prior to NCLB (No Child Left Behind), were miserable failures. And yet they're trying to force our very very successful higher education into this broken mold that didn't help lower ed.
NEA opposes proposals that would that imply a federal role in directing, evaluating, promoting, or cajoling any aspect of speech in education by students, professors, classroom teachers, or anyone else.
States, universities, community colleges, and K-12 systems have their own policies and practices for determining curricula, evaluating programs and employees, and resolving problems or disputes about fairness and protection of free speech.
NEA also opposes politicization of professional programs on campus through creation of an International Higher Education Advisory Board. Establishment of this new board would undermine a longstanding bipartisan consensus that the federal government should respect academic freedom and independence.
Current policy has been successful and should not be abandoned. The proposed Board could intrude into academic conduct and content of higher education and could impinge on institutional decisions about curriculum and activities.
(National Education Association (NEA))
The National Education Association is a nationwide union that represents most K-12 educators, as well as many higher education professors (including yours truly). Go read their statment, and follow the link to send an email to Congress about this issue.