The original of this post is here.
Universities are back in session, and in staff rooms around the country faculty are again trying to design classes that meet the government’s mandatory minimum pass rates.
If Universities (and Polytechs, Waananga, and others) do not meet a government-imposed minimum pass rate (which ratchet up every year, and may go as high as 85%), then the institution risks losing some of its government funding.
That is crazy town.
Some tasks are really hard, and it has to be OK in New Zealand to say to more than 15% of the people who show up: “No, at the end of the class you really don’t get it.”
Also, many of us have heard about the string of hilarious fellas who enroll in a Women’s Studies paper in order to, ahem, study some women rather than actually engage with Women’s Studies research. This policy penalizes the professors who tell those people exactly how much they learned.
Why would we want to penalise institutions that stand up for quality?
Sure, it much doesn’t affect the relatively soft disciplines like political science, which I used to teach. But for subjects where there is no room for interpretation, it gets much harder. What is a chemistry professor supposed to do if her junior class attracts a lot of non-chemists, who it turns out suck at chemistry? Surely it can’t be good for New Zealand if some of them pass the class so the chemistry department can keep its funding.
This one goes in the “I don’t get it” file.