Thursday, December 4, 2008

Conscience of Craft & Accountability

This is an article about a meeting that took place at the annual meeting of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.  The meeting was focused on accountability in the humanities and a common refrain from the faculty that were present was "You can't measure what we teach!".  That got me thinking about the discussions we have had recently about conscience of craft and accountability.  For the record, I don't think that this attitude of "don't assess me because it might mean that I will need to improve something" isn't unique to the field of humanities, for some reason or another they always end up being the whipping boy when it comes to discussions about accountability.   This is a general problem in academia and other work settings--people don't want to be held accountable for their work.  I can understand the argument that outside bodies don't always know what to assess or evaluate, but that can't be an argument for throwing out assessment all together.  If humanities faculty don't want someone else assessing the learning of their students, then they need to step up to the plate and develop their own evaluations and then be able to justify the utility of those evaluations to accrediting bodies, politicians, students paying tuition, etc.  

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