Kozmetsky Center talks tests

Colleges and universities may move toward standardized testing, according to a former Clinton administration official.

Former Assistant Secretary of Education Lee Fritschler spoke to St. Edward’s University about the changes and challenges that higher education in the United States is facing in a lecture from the Kozmetsky Center entitled “Education for the 21st Century: No Child Left Behind for Higher Education?”

Fritschler addressed everything from viewing education as an enterprise to the limits of federal government involvement in higher education.

“The mystery is this: why is higher education reform being encouraged to look more like elementary and secondary education?” Fritschler said.

Fritschler said that education is a large enterprise here in the U.S., with plenty of room for discussion. Some of that discussion includes the government moving in the direction of standardized testing for higher education.

During the open question session of the lecture, senior Lauren May asked why schools still administer standardized testing if some research shows it does not help students. She asked why administrators would consider using standardized testing in higher education.

In response, Fritschler said that people want to know the information provided by the testing and that there is money to be made.

“College Board is one of the richest companies,” said Fritschler.

Fritschler said the U.S. is second in the world when it comes to attainment rate, or the number of people ages 25-65 who receive bachelor’s degrees.

Fritschler also said that the focus of the core function of a higher institution is moving more and more into the hands of the federal government.

Fritschler added that the federal government is trying to adopt legislation that gives it the power to define credit hours and courses, a power usually reserved for institution faculty.

“The government cannot get involved with the content of the credit hours,” Fritschler said. “If you don’t want to get involved, don’t get involved at all.”