Standardization of economics classes

g.maclennan at g.maclennan at
Wed Aug 30 08:52:00 MDT 1995

On Tue, 29 Aug 1995 glevy at wrote:

> I have two requests: 1) can people tell me whether this kind of vulgarity
>                        is happening to the same extent at other colleges?;
>                      2) could you please address commentary concerning
>                        these actions to the list so that I can then use
>                        them as ammunition against the dreaded and tyrannical
>                        administrator?
> Thanks in advance.

>You have my sympathy.  something like this was tried in our university in
the Business Faculty.  I work in Media Studies and we were located within
business through an historical accident.  There was talk of standardsing
examininations and multiple choice was the kind of gold standard that we
were all supposed to try and get on.

However they couldn't force us on to it but they didn't reject our final
grades because they didn't comply with the "Bell shaped curve".

There was of course no theoretical justification for their actions.  But
there never is for what you are experiencing is the return of positivism,
and postivism is notoriously  non and anti theoretical. Now that the
postmodernists have wiped the Marxists out of the academy,
the New Realists can get back to their vulgar materialism - a fact is a fact.

How to defeat them?  Well you could try and point out that multiple
chocie, yes/no severely limits the level of cognitive skills required.
You simply cannot that any human discipline is not subject to what
Bhaskar terms epistemic relativism.  If that is so how can there only be
only one answer?  What about tentative and speculative not to
mention creative thinking?  I can give you some references to Bhaskar if
you are interested.

Of course what you fear is that the exam will determine the what as well
as the how you will teach.  And this needs to be argued.

You could ask them to provide a theoretical justification for their actions.
But I wouldn't hold my breath.



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