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Assessment – the new paradigm for higher ed?

February 14, 2011

First, allow me to introduce myself as a new contributor and blog maintainer.  I am Sean Fulop, Associate Professor in Linguistics at Fresno State, and currently a faculty fellow with IRAP.  I will be doing some posts on various relevant topics from time to time.

Today my post is relating to this article in Inside Higher Ed.

A framework has been put forth by the Lumina Foundation which lays out a “degree qualification profile” that is applicable across disciplines.  The gist of the movement, which WASC may yet endorse and require of us, is to put assessment of learning outcomes foremost while steadily pushing the old “seat time” course credit model out the back door.

It is easy to go all reactionary as a professor and push back against this.  But a few minutes’ reflection may allow you to see that in most disciplines where student attainment of outcomes is truly critical, they already do this.  Let’s think about medical school for a minute.  Can you imagine an accredited U.S. medical school doling out an M.D. just for attending class and passing a few exams?  It sure would be weird, and all I can say is I hope those doctors don’t work at Kaiser Permanente here in Fresno.

I could ramble on about this, but for now I’ll leave you with the suggestion that perhaps, just maybe, we have been “giving it away” for too long.  Maybe we should try to insist that our students achieve what we all know they’re capable of.

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