OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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January 9, 2014

DIY College Metrics
Leslie Madsen-Brooks, The Clutter Museum, January 9, 2014

This really is a terrific post, filled with some really solid analysis (though the football player brain images were over the top). Like this, for example: "for every 100 first-time, degree-seeking undergraduates that begin their college careers at Boise State, 93 won’t graduate from that university in four years–and 71 won’t graduate within six." Makes you think twice about paying tuition. So would the salaries the university pays to professors (much lower than average) as compared to Presidetn and VP level executives, and to football coaches.

But it's totally undermined by the author herself, when she writes, in the second paragraph: "My head began to hurt.  I’m a humanist.  I’m not terribly comfortable with numbers, and I don’t like it when things that should be evaluated qualitatively are transformed into numbers." Educators: don't do this! Stop saying your head hurts (I can't count how many times I've see (overwhelmingly female) teachers write this). Get in there, get messy, and work with the information, and be confident in your knowledge and your assertions.

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Education indicators in Canada: An international perspective, 2013
Press Release, Statistics Canada, January 9, 2014


This is a useful counterpoint to the picture provided by the PISA studies. It focuses on the percentage of the population with access to an education, and some of the benefits that result from that education. And by those measures the situation in Canada is very good (though with room for improvement). "Almost 9 out of 10 people (89%) aged 25 to 64 had completed at least high school in 2011 in Canada, substantially higher than the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) average of 75%." More, "Canada had a high proportion of individuals with a university degree compared with most other OECD countries. Almost two-thirds (64%) of Canadians aged 25 to 64 had completed a postsecondary education in 2011." That includes 27% with a university degree, and 37% with a college or trade school degree. And the education is clearly paying off: while only 55 percent of those not having compeleted high school are employed, 82 percent of those with a college or university degree have jobs. Here's the full report (PDF, 125 pages).

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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