Separate But Equal, cont'd
"Kentucky’s community colleges this fall have started a pilot project in which an outside company is reading and providing evaluations of student essays in freshman composition courses." (Outsourced Grading)
"The controversial new master’s degree is in graphic arts and Web design and would be offered through a New York City company called Sessions.edu." (Outsourcing the Faculty)
The separation of instruction and assessment is here. The two articles above are just two of the more exteme examples of late, but CLEP, AP, and 'challenge testing out' of undergraduate courses are well-established ways to avoid the classroom. A somewhat less extreme separation of instruction and assessment is the use of Teaching Assistants to either teach courses that professors grade, or vice versa.
Charter Oak State College in Connecticut and Excelsior College in New York have gone so far as to enable one to earn an undergraudate degree strictly through a combination of CLEP, DANTES, and GRE exams, along with trasfer credit from other schools. One can earn a BA from either of these two colleges without having received any instruction under their auspices. (See BA in 4 Weeks for details.)
If instruction and assessment were separated, education would improve dramatically. For one thing, it would be easy to establish whether a college's curriculum were worth half a damn. One would need only check the ratios of their students' entrance and exit exams. Educational corruption would be obviated, as well. There would be no point in hanging out or sleeping with one's instructor, if one were going to be assessed by a third party.
One of my colleagues has suggested that we create a set of exit exams that would compete with CLEP. I have suggested going at this from the opposite direction, and run a CLEP/DANTES/GRE prep service marketed as a front-end to Charter Oak and Excelsior. If you would like to fund either of these, feel free to post a comment below, and we'll work out a way to communicate privately. ;-)
And that's all I have to say about that.