Best Ways to Measure Quality?

May 17, 2011

This just in:  Presidents disagree!  The Chronicle of Higher Education’s recently released survey (done with the Pew Research Center) includes indications of significant divergence among Presidents about insuring and measuring quality.

Earlham’s President is quoted again:  “Mr. Bennett, of Earlham, said those numbers should be interpreted cautiously.”  (The reference is to this sentence:  “Fifty-two percent of presidents said they believed students were studying less than their counterparts did a decade ago.”)  “At his own institution, and at similar liberal-arts colleges, [Bennett] said, students are being asked to do more demanding and sophisticated assignments than they were a decade ago. “When you ask students, How much are you reading? How much are you writing?, there’s quite a spread across institutions,” he said.”

Some colleges and universities DO ask more from their students.  Swarthmore College (disclosure: where my son Tommy graduated) has tee-shirts that say “Anywhere Else It Would Have Been an A.”  Like most jokes, there’s a serious grain of truth in it.

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About Doug Bennett

Doug Bennett is Emeritus President and Professor of Politics at Earlham College. He has a wife, Ellen, and two sons, Tommy (born 1984) and Robbie (born 2003).
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