Standardization of economics classes

jwalker jwalker at
Tue Aug 29 15:14:24 MDT 1995


As a teacher I sympathize with your plight. I'd hate to have some text
shoved down my throat, especially -- though not only -- one I thought was
inappropriate for the course.

As to the T/F and multiple choice tests, I know a number of teachers
who have reluctantly started using such tests as a reaction to increased
teaching loads and ever-growing class size. Most of them say they can't
grade 400+ papers a semester while doing research too.

To my mind what is most fundamentally outrageous about this sort of thing
is that it subverts the highest purpose of college education and
threatens to undermine what is most of value in pedagogy. It does the
first by informing students that college is primarily about absorbing
information and then spitting it back on a test, rather than being about
developing one's ability to reflect critically and rationally on the
world around them.

It does the second by reducing the teacher to something akin to a
machine, a dispenser of information. At its best teaching relies on a
personal relationship between teacher and student, a relationship that
helps the learner to grow intellectually and in other ways. This is
undercut by the "standardization" you're experiencing.

What confuses me it, why would the administration *want* to do this to you?

John D. Walker
jwalker at

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