Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Links for 11/3/09

Doug Lederman on priorities:
But to the consternation of some faculty members at Berkeley, the university's sports program is running multimillion-dollar deficits -- on top of the annual institutional subsidies -- that are requiring the university to make short-term loans to the sports program...

There's probably never a good time for professors to find out that their athletics programs are draining university funds. But it's hard to imagine a worse time for such revelations at Berkeley, given that faculty and staff members are being furloughed and students are being shut out of enrolling.
David McNeill reports on trouble in Japan:
According to the ministry of education, 47 percent of Japan's roughly 550 private four-year universities are falling below their government-set recruitment targets, the highest ever figure. Over 40 percent are reportedly in debt, and many are a bank loan away from the fate of St. Thomas, one of five Japanese colleges to stop accepting students this year.
Steve Kolowich on a necessary step in devising value added measures in education:
Rio Salado College… has devised a system of predictive modeling that officials believe can forecast, with 70 percent accuracy, how likely it is that a student will achieve a “C” grade or higher (the threshold for transferable credits) in a given course. The tool -- one of several of its kind -- is intended to help instructors to identify at-risk students early enough that they can intervene…

Rio Salado uses more than two dozen metrics during that first week to predict how well that student stands to fare over the entire course, but some of the most effective are the most basic: Has the student logged into the course home page during that first week? Did she log in prior to the first day of class? Other predictive metrics, such as whether a student is taking other classes at the same time, whether she has been successful in previous courses, and whether she is retaking the course, are culled from the college's student information system.
Emma L. Carew and Paul Fain on presidential pay:
Ms. Jackson joins 22 other private-college presidents with compensation above $1-million
Charles Wheelan on the adverse selection of teachers:
The most pernicious aspect of the public education pay structure is that it discourages motivated, productive, energetic people from entering the profession in the first place.

If you are a really talented person, where would you prefer to work: At Company A, where the success you anticipate will be rewarded? Or Company B, where your promotions and pay raises are linked primarily to staying alive? (Company B is public education)

More importantly, who is going to play in the alternative league? It's going to be players who are less talented and more concerned about being cut...Economists refer to this phenomenon as adverse selection. Individuals use private information (their expected productivity in this case) to sort themselves into a job with a compensation structure that suits them best...We compound that problem with ridiculous teacher certification laws...a huge deterrent for bright young people who might otherwise be attracted to teaching.

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