Public Higher Ed Committee Member Rips MA K-12 Standards

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Lane Glenn, vice president of academic affairs at Northern Essex Community College, had an astounding quote in yesterday’s Globe:

The fear is, of course, that we’ll be asked to do what our K-12 colleagues have been asked to do, come up with seven to eight important things and then teach to the test,’’ Glenn said. “We’re not interested in that.’’

He’s speaking in reference to a plan by MA public higher ed institutions to put new accountability measures in place.

Its a good goal, but Glenn’s disdain of K-12 accountability standards reflects an almost comical level of ignorance.

Massachusetts’ strong accountability standards have been a key part of a larger effort that has shown undeniable results — world class performance on key performance tests (TIMSS, NAEP) and the potential to unpack that data to inform education practices.

If that’s what measuring 7 or 8 important things gets us, count me in.

Meanwhile, Massachusetts public higher education continues to limp along, spending hundreds of millions of dollars on a yearly basis, but utilizing performance measurement standards that have methodological flaws (like bouncing between 4, 5, 6-year cohorts, sometimes in the same document) and barely even touch on the topic of academic quality (preferring graduation and transfer levels) beyond performance on the nursing exam. Examples of the current measurement system are here, here, and here.

I hope that the Commonwealth is able to strengthen public higher ed accountability measures.

But deriding the work that has been done on K-12 measures, when their own house is hardly in order, is not a good start.