Thursday, October 2, 2008
"'More will mean worse,' wrote an angry Kinglsey Amis in 1961, contemplating plans to expand university education. His prediction has been tested past anything he could have imagined, as that era's new universities were joined by the ex-polytechnics in the 1990s, and the proportion of youngsters who go on to university rose from less than 10% to almost 40% now. ... Similar rumblings have continued since Amis's jeremiad. With less government money (in real terms) per student than in his day, universities have to pack them in and keep them to balance the books. ... In June a barnstorming lecture by Geoffrey Alderman, of Buckingham University gained wide attention with its claims of impotent external examiners, widespread unpunished plagarism and a 'grotesque bidding game' in which universities dished out good grades in order to claw their way up league tables. ... So worried is the committee that it is considering an inquiry into standards. Some think it should have turned a blind eye: 'We have been told that simply by looking at this question we are bringing this country's universities into disrepute,' says Phil Willis, its chairman. ... A system predicated on achievement, not potential, is under further pressure from a government that wants universities to admit more children from state schools, many of which offer a sketchy academic education. ... Cambridge is considering a foundation year for students who show potential but are ill prepared. ... Robin Naylor, at Warwick Univeristy, has found that the average return to a degree has held up well over the past 20 years, but is has become more variable: the university now matters greatly, as does the degree class", my emphasis, the Economist, 18 September 2008.
Affirmative action for Cambridge! Is Cambridge the CUNY of 1970 with "open enrollment" or California's State System today, in which over 40% of freshman need "remedial education" and the average freshman reads at at 10th grade level? What a waste of money.
"America is obsessed with educating everyone, regardless of ability, so admission standards have been lowered". Caucasian college grads' mean IQ fell from about 114 to 105 from the 1960s to the 2000s, Inductivist, 5 June 2008, link: http://inductivist.blogspot.com/2008/06/mean-iq-of-college-grads-dropped-9.html.