Metrics of Success in Higher Ed Must Change

Bill Gates, yes, the college drop out Bill Gates, nailed it on the backward and misaligned nature of how we measure the success of Universities.  “[Universities] don’t have very good metrics of what is their value-added. If you try and compare two universities, you’ll find out a lot more about the inputs—this university has high SAT scores compared to this one. And it’s sort of the opposite of what you’d think. You’d think people would say, “We take people with low SATs and make them really good lawyers.” Instead they say, “We take people with very high SATs and we don’t really know what we create, but at least they’re smart when they show up here so maybe they still are when we’re done with them.” So it’s a field without a kind of clear metric that then you can experiment and see if you’re still continuing to achieve it.”

One would think that with all the preaching of reflective and critical thinking that Universities require of students that universities would practice what they preach, especially when it comes to clearly defining what they aim to achieve, developing appropriate measures of the goals, and then relentlessly striving to achieve those goals with the help of continuous feedback.  Input (student abilities on entering college) cannot define the success of outputs (students abilities on leaving college).  Ranking a university based on the students entering college instead of the type of individual leaving college and making an impact in the world is as misplaced as ranking car companies based on the quality of materials they buy instead of on the quality of cars they produce.

About Taylor Halverson

I love learning. I love connecting. I love interdisciplinarity.
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2 Responses to Metrics of Success in Higher Ed Must Change

  1. Michael C. Johnson says:

    Well stated, Taylor!

  2. Pingback: The college-cost calamity: Many American universities are in financial trouble « Taylor Halverson

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