Monday, September 17, 2007

Accountability at SSIT

GVB writes, "In the coming year, several new teachers will arrive at the factory and illustrate through example that most of our faculty here at the Learnin' Factory are terrible, terrible teachers who only have jobs because there is no real assessment of performance here."

He's right about no real assessment of performance at SSIT, or probably anywhere in higher ed that I've come into contact with. Performance being how effective an instructor is in the classroom. Does the instructor hold students to standards of high performance? Does the instructor then do an effective job of helping students achieve that high level of performance? Do the assessments of that performance measure what the students are expected to achieve? And, is there external assessment of the performance of instructor?

Not in the classroom, and certainly not in distance learning. No one seems to care about this and as long as no one is watching, the instructors take the path of least resistance and the students look for easy classes to earn a degree that has little intrinsic value. That will only change when the risks of this crap are brought in for payment by someone who wants their money back for the worthless pieces of paper that the degrees and certificates that we sell.

My disillusionment with the self-study process grew from the a-ha! moment when it became obvious that the Standards Committee was more interested in having syllabi that matched with other paperwork than in getting in the classrooms and seeing what was actually taking place. That sort of teaching/learning audit has never happened at SSIT, and I doubt it ever will. Classroom performance assessment tools are limited to the number of students who complain to the Deans and the VP, and the BS student evaluations that lack meaning and insight.

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