Higher education'...
Follow
Find
536 views | +0 today
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by Don Westerheijden
Scoop.it!

Can Data Predict The Future? And What Should We Do About It? « Annie Murphy Paul

Can Data Predict The Future? And What Should We Do About It? « Annie Murphy Paul | Higher education's quality measured | Scoop.it
Student performance indicators predict possible dropouts very accurately and early. But should we use them? http://t.co/EPY4x3t8qM
Don Westerheijden's insight:

Starting with “Is it good to tell a first-grader, ‘You might be a dropout?’”, this short article about primary education sparks off a few interesting questions for higher education (and others):

1. It takes a very good theory to predict any bit of future, so what is the theory behind collecting student performance data? Is there anything more to it than: bad performers remain bad performers?

2. Is this a self-fulfilling prohecy, or what is the role of psychology and actors' (meta-)knowledge in those theories?

3. Specifically for the teacher-actor: What is the role of teaching (and the HE institution!) in such theories?

4. What are implications for the idea of quality of the educational offerings by HE institutions: could (and should?) we develop a performance indicator "percentage of students who graduate against expectations"?

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Don Westerheijden
Scoop.it!

Higher ed groups offer suggestions for revamping Higher Education Act | Inside Higher Ed

Higher ed groups offer suggestions for revamping Higher Education Act | Inside Higher Ed | Higher education's quality measured | Scoop.it
Don Westerheijden's insight:

Focusing on the accountability issues that are apparently under discussion in the reauthorisation of the HE act in the USA, as a researcher I favour collecting student-level data (provided privacy can be maintained). The one term I miss in the 'Inside HE' article is measures of value added. Thus the private for-profit association only focuses on outcomes, thus stimulating discrimination of 'at-risk' students. I like better the two-year colleges' proposal, when they (rightly!) ask for positive valuation of their contribution to students transferring and graduating at other colleges, which goes some way towards the colleges' value-added.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Don Westerheijden
Scoop.it!

Q&A with Rose Mungai: The Woman Behind the Stats

Q&A with Rose Mungai: The Woman Behind the Stats | Higher education's quality measured | Scoop.it
As a World Bank Senior Economist and Statistician, I am responsible for compiling data from various sources to produce the Africa Development Indicators (ADI), an annual report of the most detailed collection of development data on Africa.
Don Westerheijden's insight:

To make us jealous: "the online data contains about 1,700 indicators which are updated at least twice a year." Of course, the WB can rely on national statistical offices (and international agencies) with professionals to collect and update all those data. For us in higher education, we have to realise that data collection is done by administrators in higher ed institutions whose main job in many cases is different. Apart from US universities, where institutional research is institutionalised (pun intended, I admit), few public higher education insitutions are professional at collecting data about their processes and performances, although accountability demands have increased rapidly in many countries over the last decade or two--before that time, projects like U-Map and U-Multirank would have been unimaginable!

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Don Westerheijden
Scoop.it!

Letter in Nature: Evolutionary origins of the avian brain

Don Westerheijden's insight:

Kind of off-topic, but interesting still:

1. It itakes a lot of little elements getting together for a real innovation to occur;

2. Karl Popper's ideas on evolution, namely that first the aim or idea should be there, before physical evolution takes place (or something to that effect, from the top of my head) were not far from this finding. 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Don Westerheijden
Scoop.it!

What If We Changed How College Rankings Work? - Edudemic

What If We Changed How College Rankings Work? - Edudemic | Higher education's quality measured | Scoop.it
College rankings take things like alumni donation levels into account. What if we changed all that and had an entirely new system? It might happen soon.
Don Westerheijden's insight:

Some thoughts in this blog post on AHELO, asking some good questions, like: How many students transfer [to next year]? How many are accepted into grad school? But those are US questions, which don't apply in countries that do not have year-class systems and grad schools. That was one of the reasons to undertake AHELO: how to find a way to see what students actually learned, without using indicators that depend on systems characteristics or culture. And that are valid! Obviously then, it is better to test learning itself rather than rely on proxies. So AHELO tried to develop test items simulating work practice—that should be the same all over the world. 

But as the AHELO pilot discovered, it is really difficult to find testing methods that give all final-year undergrad students an equal chance, and to find content that is not dependent on culture (or circumstances). As in engineering: some students learn to work in desert conditions, others in mountains or near the sea, and they are at a disadvantage with test items from other circumstances.

AHELO ran into other, bigger problems, like money and pollitical support, but I as a researcher would have found it interesting to see such an international testing data bank develop (not just for economics and engineering, but those were good fields to start with).

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Don Westerheijden
Scoop.it!

A Comprehensive Ranking of African Countries According to Governance Quality

A Comprehensive Ranking of African Countries According to Governance Quality | Higher education's quality measured | Scoop.it
         COUNTRY RANK /100 6 YEAR CHANGE 1 Mauritius 82.8 4.5△ 2 Cape Verde 78.4 4.1△ 3 Botswana 77.2 0.9△ 4 Seychelles 73.4 -0.5▽ 5 South Africa 70.7 -1.1▽ 6 Namibia 69.8 0.2△ 7 Ghana 66.3 2.0△…
Don Westerheijden's insight:

Another example of an amazingly complex array of data boiled down in an a-theoretical manner to a single index number. Some of the underlying data points may be relevant to the concept of governance quality, but that is not easily found out from the website. And why should they be added up and/or averaged in the way that they are?

Are we all so enamoured by lists that no-one wonders about how they are put together?

On the other hand: does it matter much how they are put together, as long as they point in the same direction? But if they point in the same direction, there is redundancy and you could do with fewer data. More thoguht on rankings is needed!

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Don Westerheijden
Scoop.it!

Historians' association faces criticism for proposal to embargo dissertations | Inside Higher Ed

Historians' association faces criticism for proposal to embargo dissertations | Inside Higher Ed | Higher education's quality measured | Scoop.it
Don Westerheijden's insight:

Ironical to the square: as I was posting about the project to look at Open Access indicators, Inside Higher Ed published a piece about the quandaries of US historians with Open Access: should PhDs and libraries get the options of embargoeing dissertations for six years, to give the young doctors the chance to publish a book out of their dissertation? A book in an established publishing house being a condition for tenure in many US universities, this is a hotly debated issue!

Historians, PhDs and publishers all seem to be divided on the issue. I guess all parties, including universities, should rethink their rules and practices: the 21st century requires different models—and indicators for tenure—than the 19th and the 20th.

 

The other ironical thing, as 'Inside Higher Ed' says, is that the historians' association advertised for a director of communication and digital initiatives at the same time. S/he's got her/his work cut out to begin with!

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Don Westerheijden
Scoop.it!

Daily chart: Quality not quantity | The Economist

Daily chart: Quality not quantity | The Economist | Higher education's quality measured | Scoop.it
A new way to measure innovationMANY attempts to rank countries by their susceptibility to, and achievements in, innovation fall flat. Places like Switzerland come...
Don Westerheijden's insight:

I see improvements in how to measure innovativeness of countries (citations not publications; patents in 3 or more countries), but have doubts about selection of top-three universities--based on which ranking, and why 3?

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Don Westerheijden
Scoop.it!

University Ranking System – U-Multirank

University Ranking System – U-Multirank | Higher education's quality measured | Scoop.it
"Deputy Andrew Doyle asked the Minister for Education and Skills the measures agreed during the Irish EU Presidency regarding the new University ranking system U-Multirank; the measures and steps taken to ensure the new system across EU member...
Don Westerheijden's insight:

U-Multirank is being discussed in Irish Parliament!

more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by Don Westerheijden from Digital Media Literacy + Cyber Arts + Performance Centers Connected to Fiber Networks
Scoop.it!

University Suspends Online Classes After More Than Half the Students Fail | Slate.com

University Suspends Online Classes After More Than Half the Students Fail | Slate.com | Higher education's quality measured | Scoop.it

In January, San Jose State University made a big announcement: It had reached a deal with the startup Udacity to offer college classes for credit online, for a modest fee, not only to its own students but to anyone who wanted to take them. The move was touted as a major step in online learning’s Clay Christensen-approved march toward the ultimate disruption of higher education.

 

It seems, however, that there are a few more kinks to work out before we all toss out the books and the buildings for good. Inside Higher Ed reported on Thursday that San Jose State is suspending the Udacity partnership just six months after it launched. The problem: More than half the students in the first batch of online courses failed their final exams.

 

Udacity founder Sebastian Thrun, a machine-learning legend at Stanford and Google, told the AP that the failure rates in the five classes ranged from 56 to 76 percent. Nor was the course material exactly rocket science—the five classes were in elementary statistics, college algebra, entry-level math, introduction to programming, and introduction to psychology.

 

Thrun did note that 83 percent of students had completed the classes, a far higher rate than is typical for the free, open courses that have come to be known as MOOCs. Why so many failed is not fully clear, though the AP cites “officials” saying that a lot of the students who signed up had little college experience or were working full-time while taking the classes.

 

On the bright side, Thrun said Udacity had gained some valuable data from the experience. “We are experimenting and learning,” he said. “That to me is a positive.”

 Click headline to read more--


Via Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc
Don Westerheijden's insight:

The closing sentence of the article says it all: 'The question is, what university will be eager to offer up its students as the next lab rats in what amounts to a massive pedagogical R&D program by for-profit Silicon Valley startups?'

I'm all in favour of blended learning, but stats and math courses do need the blending with exercise classes; you don't get that by online lectures... No need to experiment that!

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Don Westerheijden
Scoop.it!

Boston University sues Apple for patent infringement | PCWorld

Boston University sues Apple for patent infringement | PCWorld | Higher education's quality measured | Scoop.it
Boston University is seeking to ban Apple from selling some of its products, besides demanding damages for the alleged infringement of a semiconductor patent invented by a university professor.
Don Westerheijden's insight:

University playing with the big (lawyer) boys. This is where patenting takes us. I'm not sure if universities should fight for the dollars—or should we be happy that the public (i.e. students) could benefit from profits made out of their professors' research? 

more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by Don Westerheijden from Surfing the Broadband Bit Stream
Scoop.it!

University Of California's Latest Plan: Privatize Knowledge, Take Out Lots Of Patents -- Profit! | Techdirt

University Of California's Latest Plan: Privatize Knowledge, Take Out Lots Of Patents -- Profit! | Techdirt | Higher education's quality measured | Scoop.it

At the end of last year, we wrote about an extraordinary attempt by the University of California (UC) to resuscitate the infamous "Eolas" patents that were thrown out earlier by a jury in East Texas. Clearly, the University of California likes patents, and the way that they can be used to extract money from people with very little effort.

 

In fact, it likes them so much it is trying to privatize research produced by taxpayer-funded laboratories so that even more patents can be taken out on the work, and even more money obtained through licensing them.

 

The background to this new approach, implemented via a new entity provisionally entitled "Newco", is described in a fantastic feature by Darwin BondGraham that appears in East Bay Express:

 

Click headline to read more--


Via Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc
Don Westerheijden's insight:

For me, the jury is still out whether patenting discoveries made with public funds is or is not beneficial. In the article, it is maintained that : 'at the heart of this approach is a belief that taking out more patents on publicly-funded research is a good thing. But as Techdirt reported five years ago, the legislation that started [U.S.] universities down this road, the Bayh-Dole Act of 1980, did not cause more research to be conducted in the academic world, contrary to what advocates of this law claimed would happen. Another article the same year noted that more patents actually led to much less collaboration, much greater secrecy and much higher costs to innovation.'

Anyhow, using patents or license income as an indicator of success in universities' 'third mission' might need some additional justification. 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Don Westerheijden
Scoop.it!

U-Multirank passes university recruitment goal ...

U-Multirank passes university recruitment goal ... | Higher education's quality measured | Scoop.it
The new, European Commission-supported international university ranking U-Multirank announced last week that 540 higher education institutions had registered to participate, exceeding its goal of 500.
Don Westerheijden's insight:

Glad that so many institutions (not all called "university"--#UMultirank wants to be inclusive!) are interested in multi-dimensional ranking

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Don Westerheijden
Scoop.it!

"Stop institutional audit" (ScienceGuide)? [in Dutch]

"Stop institutional audit" (ScienceGuide)? [in Dutch] | Higher education's quality measured | Scoop.it
Don Westerheijden's insight:

A Rotterdam professor fulminates aginst the institutional audit in a letter to a Dutch newspaper. The limited programme accreditation is all we need for external QA, he says. But the 'limited' programme accreditation is only opssible if your institution is successful in the institutional audit--this is one of the things prof. Arnold forgets. (Another is that the inspectorate is not new, but 'always' could do its investigations if it saw reason for an additional check.)

He dislikes the additional bureaucracy and the procedural character of the institutional audits, because they are just about QA processes. That is precisely their poiont, I'd say: show once that your institution is 'in control' of its educational quality, and then leave it to the institution itself. In that case, it's the programme accreditation that ought to be superfluous and could be taken out of the national framework. But parliament did not dare loosen national control that much--spurred by the student unions, who wanted an independent guarantee that each and every programme was of good quality.

Of course I see that basic QA in every study programme remains needed, and I have always maintained that the shift towards institutional audits does not reduce the internal quality work inside universities. And that might well include some form of periodical external validation. The only change inside the university would be that the institution itself would be in charge instead of the accreditation agency NVAO, and would have a little more freedom to find more efficient forms of external validation. Outside the university, the change would be much bigger: much less bureaucracy involving national agencies, ministry or parliament.

My doubt: not just national actors won't like relinquishing control, but also institutional managers will want to keep programme accreditations, especially now that NVAO is giving grades so that institutional managers can show off how many of 'their' study programmes are called 'excellent'. "It's the ranking, stupid!" But it's a stupid kind of ranking and we should get rid of it. One more reason to stop the programme accreditations.

In sum: keep the institutional audit, stop programme accreditation, and stop professors from sending letters to newspapers if they don't know their facts. 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Don Westerheijden
Scoop.it!

New assessments from testing firms have job-market potential | Inside Higher Ed

New assessments from testing firms have job-market potential | Inside Higher Ed | Higher education's quality measured | Scoop.it
Don Westerheijden's insight:

Promises to become an important change! “This is how competencies could become the currency of the land instead of the credit hour”

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Don Westerheijden
Scoop.it!

The Pernicious Mission Creep of Ranking Academic Journals -

The Pernicious Mission Creep of Ranking Academic Journals - | Higher education's quality measured | Scoop.it
The use of journal rankings to rate individual papers, scientists, and even programs has upset loads of people in academia. One paper's solution: Get rid of journals.
Don Westerheijden's insight:

Gives a summary of the debate on impact factor: it was meant to help libraries find the journals they spend their precious money on, but turned into a vehicle for individual researchers' prestige, and: 'Whether it’s on the table or under it, a way will arise for all the players to know where lies prestige' even if we found ways to get rid of the 'impact factor mania'. Catch 22?

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Don Westerheijden
Scoop.it!

Incoming student characteristics determine graduation rates, studies find | Inside Higher Ed

Incoming student characteristics determine graduation rates, studies find | Inside Higher Ed | Higher education's quality measured | Scoop.it
Don Westerheijden's insight:

Reinforcing U-Map's/U-Multirank's point: only compare like with like! We need to take the student body into account when judging a university's performance.

U-Map (the part of the U-Map/U-Multirank tandem that focuses on input and process characteristics) ought to inmprove on that account: it now focuses on special target groups of students (e.g. mature), but not on student characteristics correlating with graduation rate, some of which are mentioned in the linked article, such as: GPA (or an international equivalent, if one can be constructed); parental social status, education or income; minority background; compatibility of home language and language of instruction, etc.

Why did U-Map not include such student charactersitics in the first place? Because it is meant as a mapping of HEIs to a larger audience, not as the ultimate database for HE reserchers... It would be too much to ask all participating HEIs to collect and disclose all of those data. We're not the NSA... 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Don Westerheijden
Scoop.it!

How NOT to evaluate proposals « Genuine Evaluation

How NOT to evaluate proposals « Genuine Evaluation | Higher education's quality measured | Scoop.it
Don Westerheijden's insight:

Full agreement!

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Don Westerheijden
Scoop.it!

Controversial U-Multirank Initiative Aspires to be a Different Kind of International Ranking | Inside Higher Ed

Controversial U-Multirank Initiative Aspires to be a Different Kind of International Ranking | Inside Higher Ed | Higher education's quality measured | Scoop.it
Don Westerheijden's insight:

OK, I'm involved in U-Multirank, so you might expect me to highlight this piece from 'Inside Higher Ed'. Seems a balanced piece to me, not sparing U-Multirank, but giving the criticism in a fair way. In that sense, I am happy with the quotes from Ellen Hazelkorn and Phil Baty, especially his: 'The project is admirable and exciting but I will be astounded if they’re able to pull it off'.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Don Westerheijden
Scoop.it!

Open Access indicators: Assessing growth and use of OA resources from developing regions — the cases of Latin America and Africa

Open Access indicators: Assessing growth and use of OA resources from developing regions — the cases of Latin America and Africa | Higher education's quality measured | Scoop.it
Open Access indicators: Assessing growth and use of OA resources from developing regions — the cases of Latin America and Africa
Don Westerheijden's insight:

Science is about sharing knowledge in the hope of others improving on the published results. (Yes, I have a Popperian, optimistic idea about the norms that ought to guide scientists. At the same time, I know that real behaviour of academics may be different.)

Anyway, from that premise it is important to include all contrbutions to the global body of knowledge, so a project that helps to give more value to open access publishing, especially from Latin America and Africa, is a worthwhile effort. (What happens to Asia?)

Final report planned for end of 2013. I'll be curious!

more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by Don Westerheijden from Kenya School Report - 21st Century Learning and Teaching
Scoop.it!

University staff issue strike warning

University staff issue strike warning | Higher education's quality measured | Scoop.it
Kenya Universities Staff Union (KUSU) on Saturday warned they would down their tools on August 1, 2013 if the government fails to effect the agreed Sh3.9 billion salary and house allowance increment this month.

Via Abraham Tumuti
Don Westerheijden's insight:

A bit off-topic, but the expression that university teachers threaten to "down their tools" is too amusing to miss. What do university teachers actually "down" when they go on strike? Brains? 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Don Westerheijden
Scoop.it!

Sustainability | Free Full-Text | Bringing the “Missing Pillar” into Sustainable Development Goals: Towards Intersubjective Values-Based Indicators

This paper argues that the need for a core “fourth pillar” of sustainability/sustainable development, as demanded in multiple arenas, can no longer be ignored on the grounds of intangibility.
Don Westerheijden's insight:

Same argument we had for U-Map and U-Multirank: we need to develop *relevant* indicators rather than remain with the unsatisfactory but *available* ones. 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Don Westerheijden
Scoop.it!

Altmetrics: New Indicators for Scientific Communication in Web 2.0

Altmetrics: New Indicators for Scientific Communication in Web 2.0 | Higher education's quality measured | Scoop.it
See on Scoop.it - Dual impact of research; towards the impactelligent universityAbstract:In this paper we review the socalled altmetrics or alternative metrics. This concept raises from the develop...
Don Westerheijden's insight:

A whole set of alternative indicators of researchers' impact on the Net. Quick and additional to citations etc. Good idea, but I'd need to read the original article to understand what is the concept behind them: impact on whom? impact for what?

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Don Westerheijden
Scoop.it!

Chinese bank tops world ranking, Russia's Sberbank comes 34th ...

Chinese bank tops world ranking, Russia's Sberbank comes 34th ... | Higher education's quality measured | Scoop.it
China's ICBC bank has been ranked as the world's largest, overtaking two American finance giants. Russian banks have the second highest growth rate according to a survey by The Banker.
Don Westerheijden's insight:

In higher education we discuss rankings continuously. Economists have simpler minds: count the dollars. I don't think it is really that much easier, and economists like higher education rankers go for the measurable rather than the relevant.

What counts to which stakeholders? What about customer satisfaction, staff satisfaction, ethical behaviour (a commentator in the newspaper mentioned corrupt bankers...)? And even economic indicators could be more sophisticated: stability, profitability, etc.?

more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by Don Westerheijden from Evaluations, classements: mythes et réalités
Scoop.it!

Support the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA)

Support the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) | Higher education's quality measured | Scoop.it

The San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), initiated by the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) together with a group of editors and publishers of scholarly journals, recognizes the need to improve the ways in which the outputs of scientific research are evaluated.


Via Bernard Rentier
Don Westerheijden's insight:

A movement to follow if you're interested in measuring quality of research: for whom, and for what sort of uses, are we publishing our new knowledge? How can we know if we reach our goals? Interesting to see that the orthodoxy of quality = impact = quotations by fellow-researchers (who get published in similar journals that make it into the international databases) is being challenged.

more...
Bernard Rentier's curator insight, May 18, 2013 6:29 PM
The DORA declares war to the impact factor as a research assessment tool
Gilbert Faure au nom de l'ASSIM's comment, May 19, 2013 1:22 PM
at last, will read it, but will so called professional evaluators do the same?
Bernard Rentier's comment, May 20, 2013 2:23 AM
That's what crusaders are for... Fighting for slowly evolving progress. If you're convinced, time does no longer really matter!