Skip repetitive navigational links
View: Next message | Previous More Hitsmessage
Next in topic | Previous More Hitsin topic
Next by same author | Previous More Hitsby same author
Previous page (October 2006) | Back to main LRNASST-L page
Join or leave LRNASST-L (or change settings)
Reply | Post a new message
Search
Log in
Options:   Chronologically | Most recent first
Proportional font | Non-proportional font

Subject:

Better Data as a Remedy to Low U.S. Graduation Rates

From:

Dan Kern <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Mon, 9 Oct 2006 09:35:04 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (155 lines)

Better Data as a Remedy to Low U.S. Graduation Rates



by Thomas J. <http://www.tcrecord.org/AuthorDisplay.asp?aid=19353>
Hochstettler - October 06, 2006



Imagine a refrigerator manufacturer whose product failed to keep food cold
roughly half the time, or an accountant who got the numbers right at only a
50 percent rate. Both, of course, would be out of business very quickly. 

 

Data on the nation's higher education system-a system whose "product" is far
more fundamental to our national future than any refrigerator-indicates that
our colleges and universities are graduating only 51 percent of our students
within five years of their entry. More startling yet, the Education Trust
finds that 50 U.S. colleges have a six-year graduation rate below 20
percent.

 

The comparison between a refrigerator and a college education is imperfect,
to say the least. But few would defend failure rates of this magnitude. That
is why I find it surprising, and certainly frustrating, that many in higher
education are opposing a proposed national database about student progress
and outcomes that I believe would do much to help us diagnose performance
shortcomings in higher education and, better yet, fix them.

 

The issue of a database has been the subject of public debate since its
proposal by the so-called Spellings Commission earlier this year.  As part
of a sweeping proposal to reform American higher education, the federal
commission is urging the establishment of a privacy-protected information
clearinghouse to track students as they pursue their varied paths through
the higher education system and into the workforce. The commission's
proposal, importantly, specifies that data on individual students will not
be matched with social security numbers or other personal identifiers, thus
ensuring that Uncle Sam does not learn what classes a student took or
dropped, or how well he or she performed in them. The basic concept is to
apply to our college and university system the same rigorous information
gathering and analysis that we expect of our faculties and students in the
scholarly work they undertake.

 

Students are falling through the cracks, and-surprising for an enterprise
such as ours-we have done very little to understand the reasons. Why do
students drop out? Where do they go when they do? What factors in primary
and secondary school, beyond GPAs, class rankings, and standardized test
scores, best predict their success or failure in college? Other than large
endowments and hyper-selectivity, what common ingredients are shared by
colleges that graduate students at rates better than 90 percent? What impact
does students' educational experience have on their success or failure after
graduation?

 

We are at present ill-equipped to answer these questions. Without basic
information, both individual institutions and society lack the tools to
assess how the system is working, how it is failing, and how it might be
improved.

 

Much of my colleagues' criticism of the Spellings Commission database
centers on the perception that we can't trust the federal government with
such sensitive information.  Privacy concerns are understandable,
particularly in a time when politicians have demonstrated a willingness to
overlook basic American liberties to protect national security or make
political points, depending on one's perspective. Yet I believe the solution
to that problem is not to squander an opportunity to gather much-needed data
on our sector but, rather, to establish such checks and balances within our
political and judicial systems as will ensure that such information remains
inviolate.

 

Moreover, those objecting to the database have not, to this point, explained
how the Spellings Commission proposal represents a dramatic departure from
federal data collection projects that have been underway for decades and are
familiar to us all. Most notable among them is FAFSA-the Free Application
for Federal Student Aid-which requires aid applicants to provide their
Social Security and driver's license numbers as well as information on their
families' income and assets. 

 

Where some see the proposed database as a Big Brother peering over our and
our students' shoulders, I see a potential for a robust (and
privacy-protected) set of metrics that would yield essential data with
tremendous potential for advancing our individual institutions and for
identifying with greater precision those areas where our national education
policy needs to be strengthened. Where some see the specter of government
intrusion, I see the possibility of transforming our current separate data
reporting schemes into a streamlined system that is beneficial to students
and useful to faculty and administrators. Such a system could help us bring
much needed improvements to graduation rates, to be sure, and accomplish so
much more for our students and the country.

 

We can be sure that other countries are collecting such data and putting
them to good use-countries that have designs on matching, and surpassing
America as the home of the world's best higher education system. 

 

Having worked as a college administrator in Germany, I know that data on
student progress and outcomes are carefully tracked and studied in that
country. The 19 European countries party to the Bologna Declaration-among
them the Czech Republic, Sweden, and Turkey-are not only collecting such
student information, but also sharing it with each other as part of their
commitment to reciprocity in their university systems. Other would-be,
long-term rivals to American supremacy in higher education-China and India,
for example-are certain to be gathering such intelligence and putting it to
good use. The consequences for national security and economic
competitiveness are both obvious and profoundly important.

 

Could a database such as that proposed by the Spellings Commission help us
improve low graduation rates? Certainly yes-that, and much more. It is time
that those of us leading our colleges and universities stop imagining
ourselves above scrutiny and devote ourselves to the task of improving our
contribution to our students and the nation.

 

 


Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: October 06,
2006
http://www.tcrecord.org <http://www.tcrecord.org/Home.asp>  ID Number:
12775, Date Accessed: 10/9/2006 9:20:53 AM

 

 

Source:  http://www.tcrecord.org/PrintContent.asp?ContentID=12775

 


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
To access the LRNASST-L archives or User Guide, or to change your
subscription options (including subscribe/unsubscribe), point your web browser to
http://www.lists.ufl.edu/archives/lrnasst-l.html

To contact the LRNASST-L owner, email [log in to unmask]

Advanced Options


Options

Log In

Log In

Get Password

Get Password


Search Archives

Search Archives


Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Subscribe or Unsubscribe


Archives

October 2020
September 2020
August 2020
July 2020
June 2020
May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011, Week 3
January 2011, Week 2
January 2011, Week 1
January 2011
December 2010, Week 5
December 2010, Week 4
December 2010, Week 3
December 2010, Week 2
December 2010, Week 1
November 2010, Week 5
November 2010, Week 4
November 2010, Week 3
November 2010, Week 2
November 2010, Week 1
October 2010, Week 5
October 2010, Week 4
October 2010, Week 3
October 2010, Week 2
October 2010, Week 1
September 2010, Week 5
September 2010, Week 4
September 2010, Week 3
September 2010, Week 2
September 2010, Week 1
August 2010, Week 5
August 2010, Week 4
August 2010, Week 3
August 2010, Week 2
August 2010, Week 1
July 2010, Week 5
July 2010, Week 4
July 2010, Week 3
July 2010, Week 2
July 2010, Week 1
June 2010, Week 5
June 2010, Week 4
June 2010, Week 3
June 2010, Week 2
June 2010, Week 1
May 2010, Week 4
May 2010, Week 3
May 2010, Week 2
May 2010, Week 1
April 2010, Week 5
April 2010, Week 4
April 2010, Week 3
April 2010, Week 2
April 2010, Week 1
March 2010, Week 5
March 2010, Week 4
March 2010, Week 3
March 2010, Week 2
March 2010, Week 1
February 2010, Week 4
February 2010, Week 3
February 2010, Week 2
February 2010, Week 1
January 2010, Week 5
January 2010, Week 4
January 2010, Week 3
January 2010, Week 2
January 2010, Week 1
December 2009, Week 5
December 2009, Week 4
December 2009, Week 3
December 2009, Week 2
December 2009, Week 1
November 2009, Week 5
November 2009, Week 4
November 2009, Week 3
November 2009, Week 2
November 2009, Week 1
October 2009, Week 5
October 2009, Week 4
October 2009, Week 3
October 2009, Week 2
October 2009, Week 1
September 2009, Week 5
September 2009, Week 4
September 2009, Week 3
September 2009, Week 2
September 2009, Week 1
August 2009, Week 5
August 2009, Week 4
August 2009, Week 3
August 2009, Week 2
August 2009, Week 1
July 2009, Week 5
July 2009, Week 4
July 2009, Week 3
July 2009, Week 2
July 2009, Week 1
June 2009, Week 5
June 2009, Week 4
June 2009, Week 3
June 2009, Week 2
June 2009, Week 1
May 2009, Week 5
May 2009, Week 4
May 2009, Week 3
May 2009, Week 2
May 2009, Week 1
April 2009, Week 5
April 2009, Week 4
April 2009, Week 3
April 2009, Week 2
April 2009, Week 1
March 2009, Week 5
March 2009, Week 4
March 2009, Week 3
March 2009, Week 2
March 2009, Week 1
February 2009, Week 4
February 2009, Week 3
February 2009, Week 2
February 2009, Week 1
January 2009, Week 5
January 2009, Week 4
January 2009, Week 3
January 2009, Week 2
January 2009, Week 1
December 2008, Week 5
December 2008, Week 4
December 2008, Week 3
December 2008, Week 2
December 2008, Week 1
November 2008, Week 5
November 2008, Week 4
November 2008, Week 3
November 2008, Week 2
November 2008, Week 1
October 2008, Week 5
October 2008, Week 4
October 2008, Week 3
October 2008, Week 2
October 2008, Week 1
September 2008, Week 5
September 2008, Week 4
September 2008, Week 3
September 2008, Week 2
September 2008, Week 1
August 2008, Week 5
August 2008, Week 4
August 2008, Week 3
August 2008, Week 2
August 2008, Week 1
July 2008, Week 5
July 2008, Week 4
July 2008, Week 3
July 2008, Week 2
July 2008, Week 1
June 2008, Week 5
June 2008, Week 4
June 2008, Week 3
June 2008, Week 2
June 2008, Week 1
May 2008, Week 5
May 2008, Week 4
May 2008, Week 3
May 2008, Week 2
May 2008, Week 1
April 2008, Week 5
April 2008, Week 4
April 2008, Week 3
April 2008, Week 2
April 2008, Week 1
March 2008, Week 5
March 2008, Week 4
March 2008, Week 3
March 2008, Week 2
March 2008, Week 1
February 2008, Week 5
February 2008, Week 4
February 2008, Week 3
February 2008, Week 2
February 2008, Week 1
January 2008, Week 5
January 2008, Week 4
January 2008, Week 3
January 2008, Week 2
January 2008, Week 1
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003
December 2002
November 2002
October 2002
September 2002
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
March 2002
February 2002
January 2002
December 2001
November 2001
October 2001
September 2001
August 2001
July 2001
June 2001
May 2001
April 2001
March 2001
February 2001
January 2001
December 2000
November 2000
October 2000
September 2000
August 2000
July 2000
June 2000
May 2000
April 2000
March 2000
February 2000
January 2000
December 1999
November 1999
October 1999
September 1999
August 1999
July 1999
June 1999
May 1999
April 1999
March 1999
February 1999
January 1999
December 1998
November 1998
October 1998
September 1998
August 1998
July 1998
June 1998
May 1998
April 1998
March 1998
February 1998
January 1998
December 1997
November 1997
October 1997
September 1997
August 1997
July 1997
June 1997
May 1997
April 1997
March 1997
February 1997
January 1997
December 1996
November 1996
October 1996
September 1996
August 1996
July 1996
June 1996
May 1996
April 1996
March 1996
February 1996
January 1996
December 1995
November 1995
October 1995
September 1995
August 1995
July 1995
June 1995
May 1995
April 1995
March 1995
February 1995
January 1995

ATOM RSS1 RSS2



LISTS.UFL.EDU

CataList Email List Search Powered by the LISTSERV Email List Manager