Monday, March 3, 2014

You mean there's something more reliable than an 18 year old's personal essay?

Contemplative Cynic provides this idea for our next AWC game.  

High school clearly isn't working as a gatekeeper for higher education.  I'm convinced that if we held auditions for college, we could do much better with our final selections.

I think I could eliminate half of my class by simply insisting that only people who log into the LMS, print out the syllabus and bring it to class be allowed to remain in college.  Then I could eliminate the other 45% by testing to see who has skimmed (not read, mind you) the syllabus. 

Create a new audition or admissions test to see who belongs in college.


Let's start another round of POOP (Playing Online with Other Professors).  Here's how we play: you comment below with your ideas.  Give as many as you like but make them separate comments.  Keep it short - like 25-words-or-less short.  I'll collect the entries this weekend and post a poll for everybody to vote.

37 comments:

  1. A simple, in-class writing assignment. If they can use something akin to proper grammar, logic, and comprehension, they are most likely teachable. If they fail, then they get to go to the College of Remediation until they are ready.

    That's how I got into Honors English in my junior yea of high school. Why not do it for college too? An old-fashioned qualifying exam, baby!

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  2. They must be able to navigate to a stated location and arrive at a stated time, using a map.

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  3. Take a selfie inside the university bookstore* and the university library.

    *must be where the textbooks are located, not the gift store.

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  4. Replies
    1. I fell for this in the fifth grade. Great idea!

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    2. And if they fail it the first time, they can try again in six months, as long as they do something useful in the interim.

      P.S. can you imagine the weeping and wailing if anyone used this (which I, too, have seen before, though I'm not sure I ever took it; if so, it was a slightly kinder, gentler version) today? Oh, the irreparable harm to fragile egos of having revealed with all that boastful shouting just how badly they were, in fact, doing.

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    3. I must admit, I almost fell for the test (I got a little suspicious early on) but at least I had a good laugh for feeling like an idiot when I got to the end.

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    4. I do use it. One semester I used it on the first day, for points that counted toward their grade. Oh, how they showed their terrible claws, and they rolled their terrible eyes, and they gnashed their terrible teeth. And then some of them dropped! SOOOOO worth it!

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    5. My version is shorter, though, and doesn't require any talking, shouting, or getting out of one's seat. It does instruct students to poke holes through the paper and do other things that can't be erased.

      This semester I'm waiting a week before giving it. Want to bond with the Little Dears first, hoping to avoid the Evaluation Backlash that happened before.

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    6. I got that one in grade five! Being a wuss, I got suspicious at the first item that asked me to speak aloud (fortunately for me, nobody else had done so yet, so I didn't dare).

      But I've always wondered - if you really follow the directions, don't you wind up in an infinite recursive loop, endlessly reading the entire paper?

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  5. I'm not sure how to confirm it, but I'm pretty sure that a student who can manage the whole current admissions process, from researching schools and planning visits to registering for the SAT to getting applications in on time, on his/her own, is ready for college (and that students who can't probably aren't). Parents would be allowed to provide funding and transportation, fill out the financial aid form, and veto possibilities at any stage in the process, and perhaps to help work out a suggested timeline at the beginning, but not to remind, nag, sort, solicit (recommendations), track, write, edit, or otherwise substitute for the student's own creative or executive functions.

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    Replies
    1. YES! If students were required to do that on their own, it would help us a lot.

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  6. Shortly after I started teaching, I suggested entrance exams for our institution. I was quite dissatisfied with the quality of students I had to teach, particularly how poor their background preparation was. That didn't go over very well as it was contrary to one of the institution's founding principles.

    Towards the end of my time as an instructor, I'm sure that if an entrance standard was to be used, it was to check whether the applicants could walk and chew gum at the same time or if they could tie their own shoelaces.

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    1. What kind of entrance exam would you suggest?

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    2. How about ability to get their finger out of their nose long enough to do something other than text messaging? I don't even want to borrow a cell phone from any of them: eeewwww...

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    3. CC:

      I taught in a technical area where basic math skills were a necessity. Many of my students had just finished high school and they were completely clueless. They didn't even know things that I had learned in junior high in the late 1960s. I often found myself having to teach 2 courses: mine and what they should have been taught beforehand.

      An entrance exam of such basic capabilities would easily weed out those who either shouldn't be in that area of study to begin with or who should take remedial courses.

      Unfortunately, the policy of the institution I taught at was to accept everybody who had a pulse and who could fog a mirror by breathing on it--and, of course, being able to pay to put their backside in a seat.

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    4. That's about where we are now: pulse (check); financial aid clearance (check). OK, you're in!

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  7. I'm pretty sure I could also eliminate half of my students by simply having them attempt a sequence of 5 items (I've noticed they can follow instructions up to the third step. Anything beyond that, and they might as well be running in circle butting heads). I know this is similar to the old "Follow Directions" exercise above, but I don't even mean one with trick questions.

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  8. Show up with a fully loaded stapler on Day 1 of classes!

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  9. How about expressing gratitude for anything that deserves gratitude? Right now I'd take someone dumb who was at least grateful for what I do.

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  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Write a paragraph with a topic sentence and at least one piece of supporting evidence. Demonstrate standard spelling, grammar and punctuation.

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  11. Write their name legibly, without random capitalization or large curly letters with cute little circles for dots.

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  12. 1. Can they walk in a straight line?
    2. Can they walk in a straight line without patting their pockets to check that they still have their electronic devices?
    3. If so, can they do either of Proffie Galore's suggestions without touching any of said devices?

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  13. Can either be a written or spoken test:
    Please explain in your own words why grades are earned, not given.

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  14. Give them an assignment where they have to ask people for help or information. But don't tell them who they have to ask. Make them figure it out. For example, ask them when club fair day is (they'd have to ask at the Student Activities office). Ask them where they'd go to find out about Work Study jobs (the Financial Aid office, or in my college, the work study office). Students who can't or won't think on their own to figure things out are doomed from the beginning.

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  15. This sent to me from a student who reads (and likes!) AWC:

    I am a work-study in the registration room and I help new and returning students log in and build their schedules.

    My suggestion to weed out students is this: if the prospective student even utters the first syllables of "Is this teacher easy? I need an easy puff semester." I should be allowed to press the automatic ejector button.

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  16. The new Pell Grant requirements have served as a great new admissions test for my classes. The number of students who have no idea what is going on, has decreased dramatically. I am left with those that can actually learn something.

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  17. Can be either a written or spoken test:
    Please explain why anyone connected with this institution should care more about your education than you do.

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  18. A faculty created syllabus scavenger hunt that must be completed during New Student Orientation. Hide clues throughout the syllabus making sure each contestant has read and understood each section prior to admittance. Proof will be the oh so ubiquitous "selfie" with the scavenged item.

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  19. Pass a lie detector test. It doesn't even have to be on something important. It seems as if they don't know HOW to tell the truth any more.

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  20. How about some combination competition? "Trivial Pursuit: the Syllabus Edition" or "Beyond Thunderdome: Will This be on the Final?" Or "Hunger Games: To Kill a Mockingjay."

    Sorry. Haven't had alcohol yet, so this is the best I can do.

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  21. This is my interview question. Where I work, I am not allowed to ask it, unless it somehow comes up naturally in the conversation.

    "How has your understanding of the Dunning-Kruger Effect influenced your approach to your education and other aspects of your life?"

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  22. Students will read aloud a moderately difficult passage. Those who can do so with the proper inflection, and then answer questions about what they have read, will be admitted. Those who look up a word they don't know will be admitted to graduate school

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