Friday, January 25, 2019

Students and their Abilities

The discussion about differing students and their abilities has been going on for many years.   And it starts before college:  See Vanderbilt Journal

The concept of having one standard for every subject is something the Federal Government has tried to do for elementary and high school education.  This will then push the question on children's pre-school preparations by families.  This then leads to issues of socio-economics and parenting differences.

Basically - we will have students with diverse incoming abilities.  And yet, many believe we should have standard outcomes. 
What this means - we have differing input - but expect similar output.

This means - the "Processing of Students" - must be different if the output is to be standardized.  

This begs the question - what is the expected "Standardized Output?"
And since we use a gradient system to evaluate student performance. - Should the Standard Output mean students with an "A" meet the standard?

Thus, the alternative is then:
If student input is different, and student output is different - then students with an "A" in one system would be meeting a minimum level of standardization.  Does this mean an "A" from a University equate to a "C" standard at another institution?

In today's social norms environment - students expect to receive an "A" in something the put forth an effort (Participation, which is driven by social norms of equality).  If this is the case - then what does an "A" represent?

If the "A" represents a minimum standard or a "D" level at other schools - then is this inappropriate? 

The real questions is - what are the expectations of employers who hire  different students?   Does an employer who hires a graduate from a University (with an "A" grade) perceive the student to be at a higher level than a student from another school who received a "C" grade?

What is the "Scope & Scale" of the learned KSA - Knowledge Skills and Abilities that each student receives within the different schools?

Here inlies the problem - Many schools want to be perceived as equal so they may attract students within a competitive environment.  They will promote they are a "University for Education" and yet they use LOW entrance requirements - this means they are accepting many students with much lower levels of preparation for learning. 

The total input is lower.  Thus to reach standardized output - the processing (Pedagogy) must be different than other schools in order to achieve similar output standards.

This is no different than the dichotomy of Standardized Industrialization vs Entrepreneurship or Republicanism vs Communism or even Democracy.

Even in Leadership studies there is a divide between those who believe there are specific standard competencies that make a leader - rather than the individual.
https://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/leadership-developments-epic-fail/

Overall - the question is not us asking if a a University student has the same abilities as a student from another school - the question should be - do companies want to hire university graduates - and for what reason?

Is a University producing workers with specific KSAs that a large portion of the General Business World want to hire.   And does this employment meet the expectations (type of work and compensation) of the Students when they enter the PG program? 

I will NOT fall prey to the idea that all of my students are going to lead companies - that is just not going to happen.  But I will provide a level of learning (KSAs) that will allow my students to participate in the employment process with confidence that they are able to compete with many other applicants.

We are not pushing out robots of equal ability.  We are working with individuals who have different backgrounds, efficacy, and self-efficacy.  If we provide a foundation for our subjects, and encourage self-efficacy - we are adding value to the process.

But, this does require an understanding of time and effort.  Processing 30+ students in 6-10 weeks - online - is not the same process as 15+ students in 14-16 weeks - face to face.   These are different processing methodologies.   

Use a Microwave to cook compared to a BBQ pit, Stove, or Oven.
There will be similarities in the outcome - but they will not be exactly the same.   

And - if standardized output is the Objective - then why are other Research University Faculty paid 2-3 times more than a State University?  Are they doing more work? - Do they perform better?  If a Research University Faculty were to teach University students - would the output go up? If PG Faculty were to teach Research University students would their KSAs go down?

Perception of Value and Individual Expectations combined with input abilities require different processing.

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