I’m always on the lookout for more evidence supporting my theory of disaggregation. If you are new here it is briefly. Society before the Internet organized it’s resources based on physical proximity. People lived in cities because that is where the factories were. Factories were there because they were transportation nexii, etc… The Internet is causing aggregations of resources to be split apart and reaggregated along intellectual lines, not physical proximity. For example, you might be closer friends with somebody you met online than your actual next door neighbor. I think this theory will apply to everything in society that is information based. Universities are a prime example. Once classes are online, what function does an actual university campus have anymore?
Universities are strange beasts really. What they think they are selling is different from what the student thinks they are buying. Students think they are buying knowledge but what they are sold is actually a credential showing they graduated. It’s a signaling mechanism that opens a lot of doors in society. Lately it has become pretty much a necessity to get a good job thus driving up the costs tremendously.
So what if you can disaggregate out the assessment and credentialing part? It’s been done before but now I’m starting to see more movement on this.
Testing firms are offering new ways to measure what students learn in college. Their next generation of assessments is billed as an add-on – rather than a replacement – to the college degree. But the tests also give graduates something besides a transcript to send to a potential employer.
As a result, skills assessments are related to potential higher education “disruptions” like competency-based education or even digital badging. They offer portable ways for students to show what they know and what they can do. And in this case, they’re verified by testing giants.
So is this disruptive to the higher education business model? They seem to take great pains in the article to deny that.
The new assessments from ETS “really shouldn’t be that threatening” to higher education, Payne said, adding that they will “help institutions prove the great things they’re doing.”
“They can put them on their résumé,” said Doris Zahner, director of test development and a measurement scientist for the council. However, she cautions that the “CLA+ is not meant to replace a college education.”
So what prevents a person from taking the testing without going to a university? Can somebody teach themselves a topic and then take the certification? Would businesses accept that? This is Pandora’s Box my friends. Once society is comfortable with the notion that you don’t have to go to school to learn, there will be a revolution in education.