Peter Lawler of Berry College talks smack about people who need smack to be talked about them.
There is, in truth, little confidence in administrator-driven educational assessment. As nearly everyone knows, "assessment mania" originated in schools of education, which are not known as centers of excellence or even effectiveness.  For another, assessment rarely presents itself as aiming to remedy "grade inflation," which is so often pointed to as evidence of higher education's declining rigor or basic quality control.  Assessment is usually tied to "competencies."  To be competent in this or that skill is be "good enough."  And those in the know realize that "competency-based grading" is behind the spectacularly high grades given to students in schools of education for decades now.  "Good enough" in a variety of skills equals an A.  A focus on measuring competence might mean that we can show no student has been left behind, but it might also be at the expense of cultivating or recognizing excellence.  That, of course, is the criticism so many high-school teachers have of the whole No Child Left Behind and similar standardized assessment initiatives.

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