Several recent posts and articles reflect on how difficult it is to assess educational success when education is oriented toward the sometimes-very-distant future.
Nate Kreuter uses the metaphor of teacher-as-gardener to help him through the frustrations of not being able to know what students really take away from his classes in the long term. (Offering a possible solution to Kreuter’s lament, Dean Dad considers restructuring his ESL program so that the enrollment numbers can tell him which students want what out of the program, and whether they’re getting it.)
Linda M. Grasso argues that general education, no matter the student’s ultimate success with it, serves to forge the community of shared knowledge that gets two strangers talking to each other on a subway car.
Bill Keller remembers the poetry class he took in business school, and argues that Congress could use some of the open-mindedness that comes from reading poetry. (Al Filreis, the professor who taught the poetry class, is well worth reading on these topics as well.)
Meanwhile, Randy Martin explores the possible upsides of “the professional turn,” i.e., the shift toward assessment models that look for a quantifiable return on our investment in higher education. He, too, thinks that the best educational policies will come out of a very clear vision of what we want the future to look like, but he encourages us to forge connections between education and professional work that are at once more flexible and more purpose-driven.
This post was written by Odile Harter.