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January 8, 2010

Time Magazine Talks to Kevin Carey

Time Magazine talks to Kevin Carey about his recent Democracy piece, which is “making waves in the higher-ed world.”

Here’s a snippet of that interview:

You refer in your essay to a “veil of secrecy that has shrouded higher education” for a long time. What information don’t colleges want people to have?

There’s the information that exists that they don’t want you to know about, and then there’s the information that doesn’t exist that they don’t want to exist. In the latter category, no one knows how much students learn at a given college or university. No one knows. The entire process for assessing learning is completely idiosyncratic and course based. Now in some cases there’s good reason for that. There may be courses where literally there is one professor somewhere who is the only person who teaches a certain subject a certain way. At the same time, there is also a great deal of commonality. If you look at the courses students tend to take, almost everyone who goes to college takes a psychology class and takes an English class and takes a math class and takes basic science classes. Virtually no college assesses how much students learn in any subject and publishes data in a way that would allow you to compare it with other colleges. That information simply does not exist.

To read the full interview, go here. And Kevin’s piece, “That Old College Lie,” can be found here.


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