The New Limits of Education Policy
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The New Limits of Education Policy

Avoiding a Tragedy of the Commons

Roger Benjamin

Using a political economy framework to analyze the current problems facing US postsecondary education, The New Limits of Education Policy tackles the questions surrounding the future of higher education. The study provides an explanation of why improvement of teaching and learning is not a high priority for the stakeholders involved. Roger Benjamin explains why heightened recognition by the State of the importance of human capital in the knowledge economy will create the external conditions that will, in turn, create the need for an altered incentive system for these stakeholders. He goes on to make a case for additional positive incentives that would reward behavior that improves teaching and learning.
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Appendix B: A note on the analytics used in this study

Roger Benjamin


FORMATIVE AND SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENT The introduction of two key terms is useful to frame this monograph, formative and summative assessment. Formative assessment is focused on assisting the faculty to directly improve their teaching and learning in the classroom. Summative assessment determines what level of knowledge or skills students have actually obtained. Formative assessments of all kinds are developed by individual faculty and by groups pursuing authentic measures that faculty can use. For example, portfolios and their offshoot e-portfolios are seen as authentic assessments, useful for benchmarking student learning improvements. However, ideally, specific assessment instruments should meet two criteria at one and the same time. They should meet minimum standards of reliability and validity. Without standardization, the third key concept that permits comparison, it is very difficult to use what might well be regarded as authentic assessments for anything other than heuristic purposes. Secondly, the assessment instrument should be sensitive to instruction, by which is meant faculty can teach to the test, making changes in their course content and teaching methods to improve results. Multiple choice tests are not easily adapted for such purposes because there are right or wrong answers on each individual test item, which makes teaching to the test problematic. Shavelson et al. (2009) make a case for performance assessments that satisfy minimum reliability and validity standards while being regarded as authentic by faculty and sensitive to instruction. Throughout this monograph I argue that there is an important role for appropriate standardized assessments that can equally be used...

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