Monday, February 27, 2012

Goals, Outcomes, and Excellence Without Money*

There's a variety of curricular stuff going on here at NWU, much of it aimed at trying to improve our dismal 4 year graduation rates and much of it aimed at trying to reduce our costs because the state is again reducing it's support for public education and also not allowing us to raise tuition. Both of these factors are important, and have been for a number of years, and a lot of people here have been working on trying to figure out how to educate students more quickly and more cheaply.

So, there's been a lot of brainstorming for several years in all sorts of places, and folks have come up with some pretty good solutions. And now one of the big shots has put a stop to the process and put it in the hands of the new assessment guru to bring things into line with goals and outcomes (seriously, I've never heard those words distinguished in a meaningful way, but all the assessment people insist that they're separate and distinct).

Here's what I'd like to see actually on the goals/outcomes lines, right at the top:

Reduce costs.
Reduce average time to degree.
Increase four year graduation rates.

I want them up there because those are the things driving the curriculum right now and I think we should be honest about that.

*I first encountered the "Excellence without Money" thing at Roxie's World. Credit where credit is due, so long as it doesn't require any actual money!

ps. Even though this sounds backwards, the brainstorming has always started from a "what do we want students to learn" point, even if the new assessment guru wasn't in the room.

1 comment:

  1. I might want to borrow your succinct set of bullet points for the next brainstorming meeting here at Northern Regional Comprehensive.