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Assessing Teachers

Teachers are in a rare and wonderful role of responsibility not only for their wards and students but also for themselves as beacons of light to learning prowess because they have the future of the people that they teach in their charge: in the words that they use that will enable or disable learning among the scholars present, in their use of or abuse of reference materials from papyrus to cuneiform and scrolls to modern methods to capture, contain and channel information in book format or in the Internet if the latter is handled well and it is known as a tool with limits that can add dimensions to the learning process—and even in their hands that will write on black or white boards, prepare papers to be used in discussion or fashion visuals that may include slides, PowerPoint presentations, and more. The greatest problem is with the overuse, misuse, and abuse of multimedia use—where the educator becomes subordinate to the media that is used to entertain and instruct, with emphasis on the former and little on the latter. When I began teaching, the “multimedia” I had at my disposal was a piece of chalk and a chalkboard in a small town in western Iowa—the chalk and chalkboard required me, and other teachers, to know our subject(s) and not rely on externals—a reality that became very critical when, in Perú, there was no electrical power and teachers at the university complained, questioning how they were to teach without PowerPoint and other media. I just commented in a stage whisper that in my early career we used our brains and ingenuity—and walked away to find a marker for the whiteboard and held class as I did fifty years earlier—to the amazement of my students who found it refreshing from having to see slides, hear audio tapes, and so forth so common today—and their test scores showed a marked improvement. For those who have a moment to listen, I refresh my comments and state that if the teacher is a subject matter expert, there is no genuine need for multimedia except to enliven the presentation and class participation.

When a teacher reads a PowerPoint presentation to the teacher, it is an insult, as if stating, covertly, indirectly, and negatively, that the student is incapable of reading or that the teacher cannot remember all the issues on the PowerPoint.  If the teacher is only secondary to the media used in the classroom, then the teacher is not essential. Some negative effects of technology in today’s classroom are that it can take away valuable learning time with too much entertainment value (movies, animated PowerPoints, and audios that rely on shock such as simulating experiences of an earthquake, tornado, and so forth) as well as it can be overused (making the teacher irrelevant as with MOOC situations, discussed below; what is forgotten by many educators addicted to multimedia and various artificial methodologies is that many students learn best by physically and mentally interacting with what they are studying, with whom they are studying, and with the teacher who is guiding, expanding upon and making more relative what they are studying;  if most of the teaching is done using a computer, these students’ needs are not being met as computers cannot take the place of a real person nor substitute for class interchange of ideas and exchange of theories), and it can also turn educational experiences into games for students that turn attention away from subject mastery and internalizing of evidence, theory, and the various parameters of education rather than focusing on the skills necessary and obtaining desired results.1

How many students use technology in classrooms today.

  How many students use technology in classrooms today.

Laptops  have come in for careful scrutiny with observations and tests that conclude they can be distracting: drawing attention away from classroom activities, teaching instructions, and interactions by students, isolating the laptop user into an artificial world that because a virtual campus for the individual that excludes all others.  Laptops, studies show, can even hinder the learning of those around the laptop user, especially if they do not have their own laptops.2 Studies show that Laptops, iPads, and other modern technological devices have actually increased the incidents of cheating and have led to an equal decline in knowledge learning and breakdown of ethics in the classroom, at home, and in the community with the rise of pirated intellectual property, rampant plagiarism, and increased electronic theft.

Laptops, teachers and learning

Laptops, teachers and learning

Studies suggest that students who use laptops in class report low satisfaction with their education, are more likely to multitask in class, and are more distracted, especially if the screen is unusually bright or has fast-moving figures on its monitor. Student self-reports and classroom observations suggest that laptops are being used for non-academic purposes, such as instant messaging and playing games, checking email and watching movies, and browsing the Internet. Another problem with technology is that students may be more devoted to the technology and its various components than actually mastering subject matter that the technology is bringing to them—this leads to concerns for and over grades, as to which grade represents what skill or learning area.3  One reality that is clear to all professional educators is the heart of a study by the University of California economics professors Philip Babcock and Mindy Marks who jointly call attention to the fact that undergraduates these days are studying significantly less than those of the past—more time is spent on computers and computerized games or multimedia avenues such as Facebook and Twitter.  Excessive time on computers has been responsible for the loss of student interest, apathy and growth of irresponsibility in many students who have little time or do not want to spend time on mastering effective study habits.4  With the lessening of serious study among students, teachers frequently feel penalized when being assessed, as many assessors do not take into consideration the student factor and whether or not the student studies.

Cell phones increase cheating

  Cell phones increase cheating

Student scores may increase, but in many cases this is because the test is one that does not require thinking (it is multi-guess/choice) and students take their cell phones to class to get answers from other students or outside sources. To surmount this obstacle, the assessor should ascertain student study habits, preparation for class, openness in the class, and interpersonal interrelationships with classmates and teachers.  While too many students the choice between “getting an A” or “learning subject matter” will generally bring an affirmative selection of the first choice, it also leads to a lowering of intelligence and understanding: two pillars of education.

Laptops distract

  Laptops distract

Access to online entertainment makes it increasingly difficult for instructors to be “more interesting than YouTube,” especially if students are not intrinsically motivated by the subject materials. Moreover, time spent multitasking with these activities is significant; data from one study estimates that students multitask for approximately 42% of class time.5

Educators are paid to ensure exponentially and explicitly that their students know everything they need to have equal opportunities in life. However, just like in any other job, intensive training and regular checks on performance are needed to ensure that students are getting what they need and a teacher is good value for money. In this article, we are going to look at how assessing the skills of teachers are done.

One of the main educational resource skills of teachers is the desire, ability and determination to ensure those teacher resources (and their availability) and worksheets are pertinent to the teaching that is going to take place. Just one of the methods which can be used for assessment are internal examinations where a senior member of staff will contrast one teacher’s performance on teaching a topic with another, bringing into account the different approaches that are used to get an idea across – as well as how students respond. Of course, there can be a couple of things which can affect overall performance, such as class size, the ability of the students and the overall control that the teacher has on the class.

Teacher checklist

Teacher checklist

Many of the professionals who take part in assessing the skills of teachers will have a checklist to ensure that teachers are following a framework to an established and set lesson or, worse, a lesson plan. This restricts the richness of supplementing any pedestrian pedagogy with insight, invitation to question and refute or buttress any part of the text or presentation, and to strike out where fielders fear fumbling forsaking the reality that knowledge is relative and ever expanding like the multiverse we live in. Sometimes, having a starting activity before the main session begins can allow the students to become stimulated for the learning that they have ahead of them, but if it is routine, regular, regulated and raw, it discourages true learning as the mastery of a subject occurs only when all boulevards sheltered by various branches of the academic trees are kept clear of calloused, crass, and cretin schlemiel opportunism engulfing education today.

Observation checklist on student behavior

  Observation checklist on student behavior

Some educators will be expected to use a plenary following from the new knowledge which students have acquired (or been subjected to without having it reinforced richly by examples and debate), thereby reinforcing what the student has learned and what is going to be covered in the next lesson.  A syllabus is always imperative but the syllabus must be flexible to allow for individual inquiry and a symposium of ideas forged well in the fires of debate and dialogue.

Families, neighborhoods and entire communities and governments at all levels have a vested interest in how well schools, students and teachers are performing, but true performance is not teaching to pass a test as is common in many localities, but teaching students how to think independently, creatively, resourcefully and be able to return what is learned to the community so that the entire commonweal will be better and continuing in its progress to greater knowledge.  It is the role of educational institutions at all levels and incumbent on all faculties to facilitate in the learning process by cultivating and broadening the powers of inquiry that will become an intrinsic part of future workers, caregivers, teaching and research staff, government and other professionals pushing against isolationism in the world that is real but hacking down the deadwood that is limiting intellectual growth for the sake of saturating established values as the only ones valid.

There are frequent checks on schools in order to gauge the teaching environment and subject master of students, to determine the effectiveness of the teachers within the organizations, schools, institutes, and learning centers to determine how well the teachers are disseminating knowledge, skills and potential creativity for students.  These checks and balances that come from the administrators and governments usually are random, and rightfully so, as standardized tests and assessments are useless since both teachers and students will learn and operate to pass the test but not, necessarily, master the subject matter and skills necessary for deeper intellectual thought, willingness to experiment and take risks, and level the field for innovation and invention. There are numerous problems with standardized tests and skills assessment as neither can carefully, penetratingly, and impartially determine expertise and resourcefulness.

What is worse are those institutions, schools, colleges, universities and learning centers that either rely heavily on feedback systems are contrived, crafted, coined and corrupted in the name of assuring and insuring that one manner of thought is adopted, that one truth is told, and that dissent is squashed, as they are automated without the benefits of independent analysis and considerations, in where the more advanced, mature, and innovative students and teachers can introduce ideas, participate in the actual pronouncement and determination of what is taught that leads to higher levels of excellence, and make thoughtful and considered judgments on what is good or bad about the lessens which they have been directly or indirectly involved in and involved with.

Once these determiners are gathered, assembled, analyzed and categorized it is most commonly discovered that there will be a more penetrating, pervasive, punctuated, and pregnant portrait that actually denotes, connotes and contains where the strengths and weaknesses of the lessons, learning process, teaching methodologies, and teaching knowledge of subject matter exists for those students who participated in the educational exercise. This should be used when any and all assessment of the skills of the teacher takes place in order to make improvements that will improve, enforce, add to and enhance the skills of the teacher in order to ascertain and make effective improvements that will improve the student experience and intellectual growth the next time that a learning opportunity exists.

Teaching changes from year to year, generation to generation, but the purpose and process remains much the same as it was in 3726 BCE in Egypt, the gymnasiums and scholia to amplify or illustrate that which has long been deemed essential since the days of Greek academies in the fourth century BCE, and the universities of India in the fourth century CE, before the curtain was pulled against the light of learning and plunged a good share of the European continent into a dark age of ignorance and blind faith to those who claimed special privileges and intercessory skills with phantom beings.  The goal is to reward those who think independently without the shackles of ontology, mundane metaphysics, or possessive plutocracy petrifying perfectly open minds for the sake of bettering the lot for a few over general sharing of the many.

Young Internet addicts increasing in number

Young Internet addicts increasing in number

Education is never good if it is cookie-cutter created, oven baked at a specific temperature and then removed for cooling on wire barricades as with Bain Capital’s slave labor camps on mainland communist China that has more billionaires than any other nation and still treats education as a slave forbidding discussion of topics the government does not find appropriate leading to the increasing spiking of suicide that is the leading cause of death among China’s population who are between the ages of 18 and 35 or turn from suicide to becoming addicted to the Internet, especially in the area of on-line gaming/gambling.6

Teaching controversial issues

Teaching controversial issues

Teachers who do not introduce controversial issues into the classroom do not only themselves and their students a disservice but also put barriers up against learning. In assessing this problem the assessor must not how open is the discussion, how focused is it, how controlled is it, and who or what is doing the controlling.  Learning only occurs in an open environment.

An open environment only occurs when faculty and students know, and their knowledge is reinforced, that that purpose and process of learning is the freedom of inquiry into all things: a conduct that is afforded to investigators and researchers who are able, through their questioning of all things, discover the unhidden truths of reality: those truths denied by oligarchies of vested interest who libel them as unacceptable, dangerous, or unorthodox. In education, there is nothing a learner or scholar can be endangered with or hurt by that is read, seen, spoken, or experimented on or with as long as there is individual acceptance and cosmopolitan consent. There is no infallibility, no absolutes, no assumed righteousness to anything as that is a return to the Dark Ages when Galileo was sentenced by the most unholy Inquisition for defending the scientific discoveries of the Polish monk Nicholas Copernicus—much as with the present age where a Belgian priest, astronomer and professor of physics at the Catholic University of Louvain, Monseigneur Georges Henri Joseph Édouard Lemaître, 17 July 1894 – 20 June 1966), was not cowered by his own church into remaining silent like Copernicus and Galileo, or threatened as was Newton or other great thinkers to this day when John Paul II cautioned Stephen Hawking, the one to define and explain Black Holes, against “going into the realm of god” to further elaborate on when there was no yesterday: when all things started with Lemaître’s Big Bang7 that he called the primeval atom.8

In any assessment of any teacher at any level in any academic setting, the assessor must ask him or herself if the teacher being assessed is truly stimulating the minds of the students welding them to the conduct of inquiry, or if the teacher is merely repeating what is in the textbook or on a chosen paper handed to the students to ingest, digest, and regurgitate. If it is the latter, the teacher in question being surveyed has no right to any superior (much less alone average) rating, as the institution, school, academy, college or university could procure at limited expense a canned, formatted, mechanical presentation that currently is avalanching across the academic spectra and denuding true learning in favor of lowering standards, systematizing  education and creating robots that do not think, reason, reflect, or postulate anything new of any significant value or worth: the massive open online course (MOOC) that is as useless as any on-line learning especially in its claim for interactive studies and discussions—with a professor or professors at a distance where there is no direct contact.  The only difference between MOOC, set up by Harvard and MIT, and online courses (the latter frequently found at such fraudulent centers as the University of Phoenix (owned by the Apollo Group as a for-profit business that is on the stock exchange) that has had more lawsuits against it that it lost than any other program)9 is that online courses charge tuition, carry credit and limit enrollment to a few dozen to “ensure” interaction with instructors while the original MOOC courses carried no academic credit and were free.

Andrew Ng

  Andrew Ng

Even though MOOCs are allegedly non-profit, scoundrels in education have already found a way to cash in on them, as has UK-born Andrew Ng,10 on leave from Sanford, to run his for-profit MOOC Coursera, founded in January 2013.  Coursera has already cannibalized academic excellence at the University of Illinois, Urbana, and at Sanford University and has spread its tentacles out to strangle more and more schools to the detriment of learning and educational advancement, with 61.5% of its enrollments coming from outside the United States where traditional education is not as rigorous and most students, especially in Communist mainland China are heavily addicted to the Internet with 42% of the Chinese youth defining themselves as addicted, using the internet 6.13 hours online each day11 forcing China to create and staff internet addiction centers.12 The majority of the time is spent playing on-line games, or using social media that has led to a spike in suicides and plagiarism of intellectual property where Aaron Swartz is given near god-like status although he was a common thief who was terrified of rightfully going to prison for his numerous crimes. Very little is used for academic pursuits or self-improvement.

SUTEP protesting law mandating teacher testing for competency

SUTEP protesting law mandating teacher testing for competency

More and more teachers are in the “business of education” for the money—not for its original intent to teach and educate people so that lives in particular and general are better—common in Latin American nations where profesors (teachers) are supported by teacher unions, such as SUTEP13 in Peru where only 151 teachers passed a competency examination out of the 181,000 (185,000 by some accounts) teachers who took part in the mandatory examination launched by José Antonio Chang, Perú Minister of Education in 2007 (education in Perú has many problems, as when I was asked by an “Dean” with an M.Ed. to call her at her university office in Costa Rica in response to an e-mail asking me to consider teaching at the Universidad Americana in San José, or when I taught at SENATI in Chiclayo, Perú, had a teacher ask me to teach him the basics of FCE (First Certificate of English); when I asked why, his response “so I can make more money” but then suggested he study basic English, to which he replied “ain’t necessary, students here no get jobs with English—only need certificate”.

Many teachers see their first goal to become rich (especially in Latin American nations), not to disseminate knowledge.  When the Dean of Languages at SENATI Chiclayo asked for my assessment of the teacher who was a member of the Perú military, it was direct and impregnated with precise examples, the summary of it being: “He is not fit to be a teacher.” The Dean then began coming to my class after I informed him, at his request, of my evaluation of his expertise in the language: zero.  Both wanted to take the FCE examination–to earn more money–and were paying me not even half of what I spent a day on taxi fare to and from my home (Perú teachers are woefully underpaind)14, but left after I failed him since he missed most classes, refused to hand in required papers, and did not participate nor speak the English language in class.  A few weeks later he took the official FCE examination.  He also failed the FCE.

An assessor cannot play favorite nor can an assessor take into consideration who is being assessed, what the rank or title or education of the person being assessed is—as the assessment must be objective, carefully thought out, and a full report that the assessor must sign be factual both in criticism and praise, giving due to each aspect of the teacher who is being assessed as to competency, subject matter expertise, breadth of knowledge, and so forth. An assessment not only must be thorough, a copy of it must be given to the teacher who was assessed, to the direct, dean or other senior official of the group or institution, and one kept by the assessor for future reference.  This is nearly impossible with or for any MOOC used in any institution.

Even more worthless than the actual MOOC presentation  is the fact that most MOOC courses last for approximately 12 minutes yet boast that students are faced with in-depth learning.  In-depth student learning seldom occurs. In reality there is little teacher-student interaction in any MOOC environment, and there is virtually no connection.  The teacher cannot be available to meet with the student or for student consultation or individual help as the average MOOC class enrollment is 10,00015—and by this method neither can the teacher, regardless of what prestigious campus he or she is affiliated with, nor can the student where ever he or she is within the world be adequately, accurately, and acutely assessed.  The greatest theft of all is academic credibility where Wharton School of Business permits those taking its MOOC to claim that they are “studying at Wharton” in Pennsylvania—but are never on campus, never experience a real course or interaction with a live professor and can still claim that they were “at Wharton”.   The other problem, as with courses entitled “how to build a blog” (few written by any competent professional) are “canned” and can easily be copied. Emphasis on selecting faculty is not based on competence but rather on “how they teach” (methodology), so that a Nobel laureate highly competent in his or her subject area may be ignored in favor of a person who is “funny” or “attractive” or is good in tricks, stories, jokes and other abuses of methodology—it is all for the money—none is for the process and retention of learning. This is slowly changing, as with Nobel Laureate Brian Schmidt who will teach his first-year physics course online from 2014 at the Australian National University

These MOOC units start not with credits for the professor but highlight who is “the camera guy”/”second camera and editor” or the “director of production” and are more Hollywood/Bollywood than true learning exercises and experiences. Some sessions go so far as to record the “number of clicks” as with the group Doubleclick that traces clicks to promote commercial advertising at the disadvantage of the student but reward of marketers.  Cheating is common: plagiarism is open, and frequently the “instructor” will receive twenty identical papers from the students in one class.

A Ph.D. is not essential and even the least trained teach “basic courses” as with Andy Brown, BS in physics MIT, who teaches “Landmarks in Physics” for any MOOC.  It is the lack of any true formal education above introductory courses that has impoverished Central and South America and nations such as Perú nearly as poor as mainland China, for in Perú the average daily wage for some is $3.5, while it is for some $2 a day and for a few $1 an hour (inspiring many to work as many hours as possible even at the expense of their own physical or mental health) in Communist China as there are no minimum wage laws in China:16 the reason that Bain Capital17 and others (Apple, Hasbro, AT&T, etc) outsource jobs in First World Nation to Communist China where workers not only work no less than 10 hours a day, six to seven days a week, and live 20 in a room, with at least one suicide attempt each day, but where goods are of such inferior quality that they have to be replaced frequently (thus “stimulating economic growth”) and labor remains cheap.

USA investors (Bain Capital) dormitories sleep 20 to a room in China

  USA investors (Bain Capital) dormitories sleep 20 to a room in China

Foxconn has recently announced it will begin paying up to $400 a month, before overtime.18; high-end paid labor can obtain $17 (based on 1,700 renminbi a month plus the legal maximum of 36 hours of overtime) to $22 a day, but a increasing personal health costs.  Foxconn employs workers as young as age 5, with the majority of those under the legal age of 14 rising but are styled as “interns”,19 to work on Apple computers, admitting Foxconn never checks IDs or questions age.20  Despite government restrictions, some companies require excessive hours, and this deters many for seeking or working at an education and their teachers are often forced to work beside them.  When legal action is taken, Foxconn buys justice.

What is worse, as with Harvard’s MOOC Introduction to Computer Science, prerequisites are “none”—and anyone can take them even without background studies. Then there is the problem that there is no on-line education evaluation in place, and students add the title of the course allegedly studied and the participating university that offered (MOOC) the course even though there is only feigned link between the two.  21 Even worse, at Duke University, there is a professor who will give an MOOC course on Social Science and Literature—and have her students “run” on-line discussions even though most are totally unqualified.  The “teacher” will not take part in this, as this form of pseudo-education is not assessable. Furthermore, the problem of assessing MOOC teachers is that the assessors and their credentials are not known, or as a New York Times article points out, the “feedback” can come from anyone, including a 14-year-old kid (sic) in South Africa”.  Worse yet is the fact that the “student body” can be composed of anyone from “teenagers to retires, and from across the globe—mean(ing) classmates lack a common knowledge base and educational background. Out-of-their-league students, especially in highly technical courses, can drag down discussions.”22 Students must be leagued together based not on externals but on ability.

MOOC is not popular with all educators.  Many see MOOC as a “Macdonaldization”23 of global “higher” education where profits and putting out degree holders in an assembly-line mode is priority and learning is least important. While many MOOC professors initially appeared enthusiastic and supported the program, others found that they “had almost no time for anything else” and complained, as Geoffrey Hinton, professor of computer science at the University of Toronto (Canada), “My graduate students suffered as a consequence. It’s equivalent to volunteering to supply a textbook for free and to provide one chapter of camera-ready copy every week without fail.”24  His complaint is roundly echoed by others. Not only are some professors refusing to use MOOC, but entire departments (such as the philosophy department at San Jose State University) are refusing to teach any course developed by edX.25 Why is this important in student assessment and the assessment of teachers?  The answer is simple: unless both students and teachers have amble time, space, place, materials, education, and educational opportunities to study, to read, take notes, listen, speak, investigate, research, write and try to publish (and preferably publish) little can be gained by society as a whole or by any of its parts if the teacher(s) and / or student(s) are unable to devote themselves to scholarly pursuits.

Child labor on mainland China making exports to Perú and the USA

Child labor on mainland China making exports to Perú and the USA

In assessments in cases such as found in mainland China where work is all consuming, and in mainland China schools where numerous different topics are forbidden to be discussed (such as the failure of the plutocracy that runs China for its own profit and glory and has nothing in common with authentic communism but is a rehashing and rephrasing of the old monarchy; the tragedy is that every time a Peruano buys something Made in China: Hecho en China, the buyer is continuing child slave labor in China), there can be no legitimate conduct of inquiry nor elevation of knowledge.  Students are not allowed to ask about government accountability, subject matter accuracy, teacher effectiveness or knowledgability, or any matter not sanctioned by the government of mainland China: a government that has more billionaires in its legislative body than exist anywhere else in any other government in the world, and is a corrupt as most governments everywhere.

Chinese hidden billionaires

  Chinese hidden billionaires

The great, but not well-kept, secret in China is its billionaires that feed off the labors and lives of the poor, of women, and its elderly, much in keeping with other governments ruled by plutocracies: from the Koch Brothers in the USA to the senior Russian Orthodox leaders like Patriarch Kirill I of Moscow, to the war lords in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Middle East.  In each case, education suffers, teachers are poorly trained and prepared and have little enthusiasm to teach or to enable students to question that which they are told to ignore: the environment, lack of jobs, little hope for the future, and the strength of their own education: will it have value if and when they graduate.

Chinese billionaires in communist China--more than in the USA

Chinese billionaires in communist China–more than in the USA

Observations become hopelessly flawed as there is insufficient time, insufficient trained personnel, and insufficient receptivity to the assessing process or the final assessment. Academic leaders from subject chairs (departmental heads) to deans at various levels are more interested in maintaining their own jobs and incomes than in seeing the advance of learning.  More emphasis is placed on worksheets and lesson plans than on the actual delivery of subject matter and the invitation to debate, discuss, dialogue or expose faulty thinking and past publications that are pedantic but not exacting nor even truthful.

Teacher effectiveness must be graded precisely, not with simple “satisfactory” as the word “satisfactory” means acceptable and customary but does not differentiate between excellence or use and command of resources. Instead of a two tiered trial of assessing a teacher as being satisfactory or unsatisfactory, it is far more imperative to grade on numerous criteria and levels to end the ubiquity ratings that do nothing to raise levels of achievement or mastery. Student achievement gains are not necessarily reflective of critical thinking, but of a teacher teaching to the test, where performance measurements are related only to those subjects that are being graded to determine teacher effectiveness.  Teachers who do not correct inaccuracies are not competent and must be rated at the very best as “basic” and those who do not challenge incompetency in presentation (theirs or their students) must be rated as unsatisfactory as is being done in Cincinnati, Ohio schools.

To allow an erroneous statement of fact to go unchallenged, diplomatically, is to degrade the entire educational process, regardless if the challenge offends the student who made it or the student’s family, peers, or religious leaders—or teaching will return to the Dark Ages where Ptolemy was considered an authority rather than an historical oddity. The truly successful teacher is the educator who raises questions, requires discussion, and does not allow self-appointed viziers, wizards or sycophants to monopolize and mentor students to push a particular partisan or parochial agenda, but stands sentry for signaling the necessity of absolute education.  The more precision used in detailing the assessment, the more rapidly the teaching of the educator assessed can be improved.

CIncinnati evaluation table

CIncinnati evaluation table

Meaningful assessment requires candor, honesty, and detailed reasoning. Meaningful and accurate assessment demands that each teacher is reviewed and judged by the same standards as all other teachers working within the system, that there is no favoritism nor cronism, no payback or benefits. The review must be fare and based on qualifiable and quantifiable standards that are explicit as well as precise.26  The only problem is that many unqualified or under-qualified assessors do not grade from copious notes and other resources and write a paucity of words in fear of offending the assessed faculty member and / or his / her director, dean, or other leader in the upper echelon.

The issue of ability is difficult to discuss with leaders, deans, and administrators who are charged with student enrollment and economic issues, thereby feeling necessitated to bring together the largest number of students into one class, even though that class will include those totally or marginally incompetent to handle the material, are disruptive or disrespectful of peers and professors, or prefer to be the center of attention regardless of cost.  Where I teach, one young lady blurts out “Jesus Christ!” in disgust whenever she is requested to do anything, and while I teach English as a foreign language and investigation and research in translation, she insists on using Spanish in her monologues, dialogues, papers and arguments with me—all the while claiming that she is competent in the English language and will be a translator and at the same time condemning the requirement to have a formal education in her field of choice since “anyone can be a translator who owns a bilingual dictionary or is near a computer27.  Since she brings in and pays tuition, she stays—to the distraction and discomfort of her peers, the latter word being especially significant as in her explanation of what “judgment of her peers” means; she claims that a “peer review” means her work is applauded by her classmates—the classmates being her peers—while all academicians know that a peer review is conducted by people who have an in-depth knowledge of the subject matter researched, investigated, written and submitted for publication without a knowledge of the writer.  As Alexander Pope (1688-1744) wrote in his An Essay on Criticism (1709): “A little learning is a dangerous thing.”28 MOOC proves Pope’s accuracy of insight. 29 where the author, probably a Divine in the Church of England, incorrectly attributed to Lord Bacon the statement “That a little knowledge is apt to puff up, and make men giddy, but a greater share of it will set them right, and bring them to low and humble thoughts of themselves.”30

  1. http://www.ehow.com/list_6557773_negative-using-technology-today_s-classroom.html, and http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/tech/news/2004-12-06-complicating-things_x.htm.
  2. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360131512002254.
  3. http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=9853&page=206.
  4. http://alleghenycampus.com/2011/01/27/technology-hinder-student-study-habits/
  5. http://www.educationnews.org/technology/study-laptops-in-the-classroom-can-distract-hinder-learning/.
  6. http://middlekingdomlife.com/guide/chinese-education-system-students-english-teacher.htm.
  7. Georges Henri Joseph Édouard Lemaître (April 1927). “Un Univers homogène de masse constante et de rayon croissant rendant compte de la vitesse radiale des nébuleuses extra-galactiques”. Annales de la Société Scientifique de Bruxelles (in French) 47: 49.
  8. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aso/databank/entries/dp27bi.html.
  9. Yung, Katherine (February 28, 2004). “Dealing in Diplomas, For the University of Phoenix, College Is a Big Business – And Getting Bigger”. The Dallas Morning News: http://www.kroplaw.com/uop/DallasMorningNews.040228.pdf;  Dillon, Sam (February 11, 2007). “Troubles Grow for a University Built on Profits”. The New York Times, February 11, 2007: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/11/education/11phoenix.html; Krieger, Lisa M. (June 23, 2007). “Lawsuit: University of Phoenix Breached Ethics, Laws: U. of Phoenix Recruiters Cite Pressure Tactics”. San Jose Mercury News: http://www.crowncollegelawsuits.com/University%20Breached%20Ethics.pdf; especially: “For-Profit Educator to Pay $67.5 Million Settlement”. The Wall Street Journal. December 15, 2009. p. B4.
  10. Director, Stanford Artificial Intelligence Lab Associate Professor Computer Science Department Stanford University.
  11. http://chronicle.com/blogs/worldwise/moocs-mass-education-and-the-mcdonaldization-of-higher-education/30536.
  12. http://laowaiblog.com/chinas-internet-addiction/.
  13. http://arthuride.wordpress.com/2010/12/10/education-in-peru-and-sutep/.
  14. I could not obtain any other teaching position elsewhere due to my age.
  15. http://www.onlineschools.com/blog/mooc-programs-take-a-giant-leap.
  16. http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_much_do_factory_workers_in_china_make.
  17. http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/09/romney-camp-silent-on-whether-bain-purchased-brutal-chinese-factory.php.
  18. http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/24/the-ieconomy-how-much-do-foxconn-workers-make/
  19. http://www.nbcnews.com/business/foxconn-says-underage-workers-used-china-plant-1C6508952.
  20. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-19965641.
  21. That reminds me when I had the misfortune to be signed up (unwillingly) to take a course in ergonomics from Amber University in Dallas, and the professor (who was at that time also its president and a self-acclaimed ergonomicist) required that those who took the course take examinations by copying word-for-word, punctuation-for-punctuation, all answers directly from his book that was the required textbook to buy—and any other book that dealt with the same subject and either supplemented or refuted the professor’s commentary was discounted and if the student was so bold as to introduce other texts, the student failed, or sometimes received the lowest score possible. I withdrew as a “student” as no studying was involved, required, or assigned outside of reading the professor’s poor prose and obscure language.
  22. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/04/education/edlife/massive-open-online-courses-are-multiplying-at-a-rapid-pace.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0.
  23. http://chronicle.com/blogs/worldwise/moocs-mass-education-and-the-mcdonaldization-of-higher-education/30536.
  24. http://chronicle.com/article/The-Professors-Behind-the-MOOC/137905/#id=overview.
  25. http://chronicle.com/article/Why-Professors-at-San-Jose/138941/.
  26. http://educationnext.org/evaluating-teacher-effectiveness/.
  27. Most computers have “translators” built in, but they can also be downloaded, especially for Babel Fish or other similar devices
  28. Regretfully, I only own the 1711 reprint: An Essay on Criticism (with two lines in Latin). London, England: Printed for W. Lewis and sold by W. Taylor, T. Osborn, and J. Graves. 43 p. The full quotation reads: “A little learning is a dangerous thing; drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring: there shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, and drinking largely sobers us again.” The Pierian spring was sacred water in Macedon reserved for the Muses: a metaphorical source of knowledge of arts and science.
  29. Pope’s famous statement was misquoted in The Monthly Miscellany; or Gentleman and Lady’s Complete Magazine. Vol. II (1774): “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.”  Both Pope and the Monthly Miscellany are actually paraphrases from a collection of letters by “A.B.” under the title The Mystery of Phanaticism that appeared in print in 1698. My personal copy has the title: The mystery of phanaticism, or, The artifices of Dissenters to support their schism : together with the evil and danger of them : set forth in several letters to a friend, wherein is made appear that nothing but the subtilty and cunning of their teachers doth now hinder the people from conformity with the imprint: London: Printed for T. Leigh (et al.) (2), vi, 136 p.
  30. “Lord Bacon”, the English politician and philosopher known as Viscount St. Alban Francis Bacon, actually said in his The Essays of Atheism published in 1601: “A little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about to religion.”

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