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Time for schools to ‘scrap the machine’

David Eubanks
Furman Assistant Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness Dave Eubanks.

Furman Assistant Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness Dave Eubanks urges colleges and universities to “scrap the machine” in a recent column penned for Inside Higher Ed.

“Imagine if instead of spending the last twenty years doing crypto-measurement to perfect a report-writing culture, we had used that effort to understand how students succeed: their hopes when they attend college, the effect of their history on chances for success, what causes them to choose a major, how the individual traits of students can lead to individualized pathways, what course grades and course evaluations mean and how to improve them, and so on. What if we had used empirical methods instead of relying on a rigid set of rules about what can and cannot be done (like: you can’t use grades or surveys as primary evidence),” he writes.

Eubanks goes on to illustrate the move Furman has made away from reports in favor of data and research, which includes recent findings from grades and surveys about the effects of student self-appraisal of their abilities on choice of major and career, the quantifiable links between internships and research and early career and graduate school transitions, and differences between academic areas with respect to grade reliability.

Read “Reclaiming Assessment’s Promise: New Guidance from the Department of Education Could Help” in its entirety here.

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