Off topic: WaPo op-ed on access-to-justice

Not directly assessment-related, but I thought I would share that Jennifer Bard (Cincinnati) and I have an op-ed in the Washington Post about access-to-justice. Drawing on an analogy to medicine, we argue:

Professionals must first acknowledge that not every legal task must be performed by a licensed lawyer. Instead, we need to adopt a tiered system of legal-services delivery that allows for lower barriers to entry. Just as a pharmacist can administer vaccines and a nurse practitioner can be on the front line of diagnosing and treating ailments, we should have legal practitioners who can also exercise independent judgment within the scope of their training. Such a change would expand the preparation and independence of the existing network of paralegals, secretaries and investigators already assisting lawyers.

This creates greater, not fewer, opportunities for law schools, which should provide a range of educational opportunities, from short programs for limited license holders to Ph.D.’s for those interested in academic research.

Enjoy the article!

Standardized Tests in Universities?

An interesting paper by Fredrik deBoer, a lecturer at Purdue, writing for the think tank, New America, examines the rise of assessment in K-12 and higher education.  He notes that K-12 education is populated with a plethora of standardized tests, while universities and colleges tend to operate as independent silos.  He argues that higher education’s use of standardized tests, developed by outside testing firms, should be approached with caution.  At the very least, the tests should be subjected to external validation.  He writes, “Researchers must vet these instruments to determine how well they work, and what the potential unforeseen consequences are of these types of assessments, for the good of all involved.”  More from InsideHigherEd.