Daily Archives: August 4, 2010

Test bias: An ongoing debate

Inside Higher Ed reports:

For many years, critics of the SAT have cited a verbal question involving the word regatta as an example of how the test may favor wealthier test-takers, who also are more likely to be white. It’s been a long time since the regatta question was used — and the College Board now has in place a detailed process for testing all questions and potential questions, designed to weed out questions that may favor one group of students over another.

But a major new research project — led by a scholar who favors standardized testing — has just concluded that the methods used by the College Board (and just about every other testing entity for either admissions or employment testing) are seriously flawed. While the new research doesn’t conclude that the tests are biased, it says that they could be — and that the existing methods of detection wouldn’t reveal that.

The study, by Aguinis et. al., is available online here (PDF).

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‘Open source’ textbooks make inroads into K-12

The New York Times reports:

Over the last few years, groups nationwide have adopted the open-source mantra of the software world and started financing open-source books. Experts — often retired teachers or groups of teachers — write these books and allow anyone to distribute them in digital, printed or audio formats. Schools can rearrange the contents of the books to suit their needs and requirements.

But progress with these open-source texts has been slow.

California and Texas dominate the market for textbooks used in kindergarten through high school, and publishers do all they can to meet these states’ requirements and lock in their millions of students for years.

Both states have only recently established procedures that will let open-source textbooks begin making their way through the arduous approval process.

August 4 higher ed round-up

  • In an age of easy copy-and-paste technology, do contemporary students simply not understand the concept of plagiarism? [New York Times]
  • Several U. of Texas faculty think the answer is ‘yes’ [The Daily Texan]
  • Speaking of Texas – the Higher Education Coordinating Board here is considering a new requirement that college students complete part of their degree work via online learning or other ‘outside the classroom’ methods [Chronicle of Higher Ed]