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Measuring value in education in more ways than one

16 September 2010
by Guest author


Vote early, vote often

“Ranking is a disease,” said Charles Reed of California State University this last Monday, speaking at the OECD’s institutional management in higher education (IMHE) general conference, Higher Education in a World Changed Utterly: Doing More with Less. He went on, “All universities provide value at what they do, and this business of ranking is unhealthy.”

 Yet countries themselves are keen to learn where they stand each time the OECD publishes its international comparative data in Education at a Glance (just released last week) and PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) (to be released 7 December).

Fascinated as we are with understanding where we stand in comparison to others, whether we are countries or schools, companies or individuals, Charles Reed has a point. Rankings cannot cover all dimensions of value, but they do provide comparative evidence on a few key ones.  As available rankings reflect neither the quality of teaching nor learning, OECD is currently measuring what matters by starting to test student and adult performance with the Programmes for the Assessment of Higher Education Learning Outcomes (AHELO) and the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC). Going beyond rankings requires a vision of what makes each country or school, company or individual, unique or valuable to its population, audience or following.

In an effort to add more voices to the ongoing debate on education priorities, the OECD is undertaking a new global, participative and transparent “crowdsourcing” project. With Raise your hand, launched today, we’re shouting out for the very best ideas around the most important action to take in education today.

What’s new about this?

We are targeting everyone in every corner of the world.

  • There are no barriers to entry (no sign in, no e-mail address, voting is entirely anonymous). 
  • New ideas from the public at large are welcome and encouraged.

Developed using Princeton University’s open-source software, “All Our Ideas” and in close collaboration with Matthew Salganik, this project benefits from the best features of quantitative and qualitative methods. Other communities working with All Our Ideas have added more than 1,500 ideas and cast more than 60,000 votes.

 Help us get even more impact with this new “crowdsourcing” initiative. Go ahead and give it a try. You’ll be presented with two ideas at a time (out of the current 55). You can keep voting as much as you like, but be warned it is highly addictive. And the ideas will not stop until you do.

Better still, you might have a good idea of your own. If so, go ahead and add it!

 Voting opens today and closes 15 October 2010. Get your vote in and spread the word to everyone you know. Together, we might make a difference.

 Useful links:

How smart are you about education?

Is Europe making the grade?

OECD and allourideas

OECD Raise Your Hand

What’s the big idea?

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