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The Misguided Drive to Measure ‘Learning Outcomes’ - The New York Times
"It seems that the pressure to assess student learning outcomes has grown most quickly at poorly funded regional universities that have absorbed a large proportion of financially disadvantaged students, where profound deficits in preparation and resources hamper achievement. Research indicates that the more selective a university, the less likely it is to embrace assessment. Learning outcomes assessment has become one way to answer the question, “If you get unprepared students in your class and they don’t do well, how does that get explained?” Mr. Eubanks at Furman University told me.

When Erik Gilbert, a professor of history at Arkansas State University, reached the end of his World Civilization course last fall, he dutifully imposed the required assessment: an extra question on the final exam that asked students to read a document about Samurai culture and answer questions using knowledge of Japanese history. Yet his course focused on “cross-cultural connections, trade, travel, empire, migration and bigger-scale questions, rather than area studies,” Mr. Gilbert told me. His students had not studied Japanese domestic history. “We do it this way because it satisfies what the assessment office wants, not because it addresses concerns that we as a department have.”

Mr. Gilbert became an outspoken assessment skeptic after years of watching the process fail to capture what happens in his classes — and seeing it miss the real reasons students struggle. “Maybe all your students have full-time jobs, but that’s something you can’t fix, even though that’s really the core problem,” he said. “Instead, you’re expected to find some small problem, like students don’t understand historical chronology, so you might add a reading to address that. You’re supposed to make something up every semester, then write up a narrative” explaining your solution to administrators.

Here is the second irony: Learning assessment has not spurred discussion of the deep structural problems that send so many students to college unprepared to succeed. Instead, it lets politicians and accreditors ignore these problems as long as bureaucratic mechanisms appear to be holding someone — usually a professor — accountable for student performance.

All professors could benefit from serious conversations about what is and is not working in their classes. But instead they end up preoccupied with feeding the bureaucratic beast. “It’s a bit like the old Soviet Union. You speak two languages,” said Frank Furedi, an emeritus professor of sociology at the University of Kent in Britain, which has a booming assessment culture. “You do a performance for the sake of the auditors, but in reality, you carry on.”

Yet bureaucratic jargon subtly shapes the expectations of students and teachers alike. On the first day of class, my colleagues and I — especially in the humanities, where professors are perpetually anxious about falling enrollment — find ourselves rattling off the skills our courses offer (“Critical thinking! Clear writing!”), hyping our products like Apple Store clerks.

I teach intellectual history. Of course that includes skills: learning to read a historical source, interpret evidence and build an argument. But cultivating historical consciousness is more than that: It means helping students immerse themselves in a body of knowledge, question assumptions about memory and orient themselves toward current events in a new way.

If we describe college courses as mainly delivery mechanisms for skills to please a future employer, if we imply that history, literature and linguistics are more or less interchangeable “content” that convey the same mental tools, we oversimplify the intellectual complexity that makes a university education worthwhile in the first place. We end up using the language of the capitalist marketplace and speak to our students as customers rather than fellow thinkers. They deserve better.

“When kids come from backgrounds where they’re the first in their families to go to college, we have to take them seriously, and not flatter them and give them third-rate ideas,” Mr. Furedi told me. “They need to be challenged and inspired by the idea of our disciplines.” Assessment culture is dumbing down universities, he said: “One of the horrible things is that many universities think that giving access to nontraditional students means turning a university into a high school. That’s not giving them access to higher education.”

Here is the third irony: The value of universities to a capitalist society depends on their ability to resist capitalism, to carve out space for intellectual endeavors that don’t have obvious metrics or market value.

Consider that holy grail of learning outcomes, critical thinking — what the philosopher John Dewey called the ability “to maintain the state of doubt and to carry on systematic and protracted inquiry.” Teaching it is not a cheap or efficient process. It does not come from trying to educate the most students at the lowest possible cost or from emphasizing short, quantifiable, standardized assignments at the expense of meandering, creative and difficult investigation.

Producing thoughtful, talented graduates is not a matter of focusing on market-ready skills. It’s about giving students an opportunity that most of them will never have again in their lives: the chance for serious exploration of complicated intellectual problems, the gift of time in an institution where curiosity and discovery are the source of meaning.

That’s how we produce the critical thinkers American employers want to hire. And there’s just no app for that."
learning  learningoutcomes  outcomes  academia  assessment  evaluation  quantification  measurement  accountability  highered  highereducation  2018  mollywhorthen  criticalthinking  johndewey  metrics  inquiry  efficiency  standardization  standardizedtesting  capitalism  content  complexity  howwelearn  howwethink  knowledge  education  lcproject  openstudioproject  unschooling  deschooling  schools  pedagogy  teaching  skepticism  bureaucracy  corporatism  corporatization  inequality 
8 hours ago by robertogreco
Dear Tech People
Dear Tech People
a race and gender diversity ranking of 100 top tech companies


Dear tech people,

Most of us agree that tech could be a little more diverse. After talking to 50 HR leaders and hundreds of employees, we found diversity data to be incredibly sparse. We analyzed thousands of profiles across LinkedIn and AngelList and now have the data to hold companies accountable. We hope our data empowers advocates to push for change. Here’s how 100 tech darlings rank on diversity and inclusion.
diversity  metrics  technology 
yesterday by pfctdayelise
Are We 'Bay Areans'? Professor Lederer Discusses Regional Demonyms
BRINKWIRE -- “As a lifetime resident, I call myself a ‘Daly City resident,'” city clerk K. Annette Hipona said in an email. There’s no official demonym for Fremont, either, according to two city spokespeople.

That’s partly a morphological problem, said Jenny Lederer, assistant professor of linguistics at San Francisco State University. English has few suffixes that sound natural when attached to a word like “city.” But demonyms are more than the sum of their syllables, she said. They also signify a unique sense of community among locals.

“Exactly what characterizes a region, such that you can be from there?” Lederer said. “Are the places that have demonyms places … well-known enough in the US or the world, such that it would make sense that we would talk about that place as an identity term?”
eng  faculty  research  wire  metrics 
yesterday by sfstatelca
Alum Matt Saincome on Turning Punk Into Comedy, Developing TV Show
BILLBOARD -- Dolphin sex is what led Matt Saincome to launch his satirical punk culture media enterprise The Hard Times — reporting on it, not engaging in it. In 2013, Saincome was a recent Journalism graduate from San Francisco State University working as a freelancer for SF Weekly, when his editor forwarded him a press release about a man who had written an autobiographical novel about an interspecies love affair with a dolphin. He wound up interviewing the man and published an article called, simply, “Meet the Man Who Had Sex with a Dolphin (and Wrote a Book About It),” which went viral thanks to both the outrageous subject matter and Saincome’s humorous tone. The story became the Weekly’s most-viewed post of the year.
jour  alumni  national  metrics 
yesterday by sfstatelca
Get A Better UX Metric From Your NPS Survey Data – UX Immersion: Interactions – Medium
A few weeks ago, I wrote a somewhat controversial analysis of Net Promoter Score, a business metric employed in many organizations. Many who were critical of my article stated they thought I should’ve provided a replacement for their beloved instrument, if I was going to tell them they can’t use it any more. While there is no replacement for the numeric score, there is a way to get value out of the survey used to collect the Net Promoter Score data.
design  research  metrics  nps 
yesterday by seralat
Is the Net Promoter Score a Better Measure than Satisfaction? (MeasuringU)
Jeff Sauro провёл собственное исследование того, влияет ли удовлетворённость пользователей, выраженная в разных метриках (SAT и NPS), на будущие прибыли компании на примере авиалиний. В целом ― связь есть.
UX  NPS  metrics  measure  statistics  research  issue  business 
2 days ago by jvetrau
Micrometer Application Monitoring - Vendor-neutral application metrics facade
Micrometer provides a simple facade over the instrumentation clients for the most popular monitoring systems, allowing you to instrument your JVM-based application code without vendor lock-in. Think SLF4J, but for metrics.
development  framework  free  metrics 
2 days ago by vscarpenter
It’s Time We Hold Accountability Accountable – Teachers Going Gradeless
"Author and writing professor John Warner points out how this kind of accountability, standardization, and routinization short-circuits students’ pursuit of forms “defined by the rhetorical situation” and values “rooted in audience needs.”

What we are measuring when we are accountable, then, is something other than the core values of writing. Ironically, the very act of accounting for student progress in writing almost guarantees that we will receive only a poor counterfeit, one emptied of its essence.

Some might say that accountability only makes a modest claim on teaching, that nothing prevents teachers from going beyond its measurable minimum toward higher values of critical thinking, problem solving, and creativity. Many seem to think that scoring high on lower-order assessments still serves as a proxy for higher-order skills.

More often than not, however, the test becomes the target. And as Goodhart’s law (phrased here by Mary Strathern) asserts, “When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.” What we end up aiming at, in other words, is something other than the thing we wanted to improve or demonstrate. When push comes to shove in public schools — and push almost always comes to shove — it’s the test, the measure, the moment of reckoning we attend to.

For most of my career, I’ve seen how a culture of accountability has caused the focus of administrators, teachers, and students to solidify around the narrow prescriptions and algorithmic thinking found on most tests. When that happens, the measure no longer represents anything higher order. Instead, we demonstrate our ability to fill the template, follow the algorithm, jump through the hoop. And unfortunately, as many students find out too late, success on the test does not guarantee that one has developed the skills or dispositions needed in any real field. In fact, students who succeed in this arena may be even more oblivious to the absence of these."
writing  howwewrite  teaching  accountability  2017  arthurchiaravalli  johnwarner  testing  tests  standardization  routinization  audience  measurement  metrics  rubrics  grades  grading  quantification 
3 days ago by robertogreco
OpenCensus
Metric and trace collection all rolled into one client library.
opencensus  census  monitoring  metrics  observability  tracing  visibility  prometheus  zipkin 
4 days ago by rcrowley
Instrumental
Metric generating and recording service
metrics  cloudservice 
4 days ago by rrees
Professor Mark Dean Johnson is Co-Curator of 'Contraptions' at Contemporary Jewish Museum
J. (SAN FRANCISCO) --“Contraption” curators Renny Pritikin, the Contemporary Jewish Museum’s chief curator, and Mark Dean Johnson, professor of Art at San Francisco State University, also challenge museumgoers to consider whether there are any particular Jewish aesthetic perspectives in relation to machinery and technology.

All of the artists in the exhibit were either born and raised in the Golden State, or spent a majority of their working lives here. And all of them seem to have a certain preoccupation with machines and their complexities.

Did this stem from their forebears’ working-class experiences as sweatshop and factory workers in New York and other large U.S. cities during the early part of the 20th century? Was it simply their proximity to a manufacturing base as a mostly urban-dwelling population? Or was their focus on how the machines squeezed the life out of immigrants who, day in and day out, eked out a living on them?

Rachel B. Gross, the John and Marcia Goldman Professor of American Jewish Studies at San Francisco State University, posits another plausible theory. Jews, she says, have always been interested in contraptions. As she writes in “Moving Parts: Contraptions and Jewish Traditions,” an essay included in the exhibit’s catalogue, what, after all, are tefillin (phylacteries), an eruv (a circumscribed urban boundary created by Shabbat-observing Jews) and the Talmud but Jewish “contraptions” that resolve “religious dilemmas through the particularities of symbolic logic?”
js  faculty  research  metrics  regional  art 
4 days ago by sfstatelca

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