Reflecting on what was filmed at WCCC and the numerous conversations had with both students and faculty, I'm left wondering a number of things. Testing was a huge part of the discussion and after taking my first (ever) scantron test (reading comprehension), I can understand the frustration and abhorrence of this method of assessment. Yet assessment is key to most everything we do, so how do we develop more meaningful and relevant methods of assessment? Tools that paint a more accurate and complete picture of our knowledge base, instead of one measuring tool that delivers a limited scope. After all, if we all used standardized procedures in real life, we would have one type of operating system, one internet browser, one model of car, and the list goes on - all in the name of efficiency. Because if there's just one, the need for multiple skill sets, knowledge bases, etc, disappears. One type of car? Mechanics need to understand only one set of protocols. Maybe I'm simplifying, or maybe I'm not.
Other fallout from the testing dilemma, is the lack of opportunity to choose courses. Paul, a culinary arts major, is in two of Professor Krug's developmental education courses. He has no courses related to culinary arts. "I just want to get my hands on food, but because I tested into this class, I can't. My GPA in high school was 3.8, so I don't know why I'm even in this class." Paul's anger and frustration are evident. Was his high-school GPA inaccurate? Was he having an off day when he took the placement test? I consider myself well read, with an extensive vocabulary, and I missed six questions on the test. What does that say about me?
Numerous students talked about just wanting to have a good job. Good jobs are desirable, but is that all we want our young people to aspire to? In this day and age of technological innovation and unprecedented access to information, is a good job all we want them to have? Personally, I want my children to see the multitude of ways they can contribute to the world we share, solve problems where possible, create things that help us all experience a more fulfilling life, find joy in all that they are surrounded by; yes, absolutely have a viable means of earning money - money is necessary. But there's more. Have we let our young people down by failing to instill the ability to see beyond "getting a good job"?