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Quick Takes: Hundreds of AP Exams Are Lost, Classes Will Resume in Beirut, Defense of Groping Dons Shocks UK, Literary Press Moves to U. of Rochester, Costs of University Status, Why We'll Pass on the Rankings

August 18, 2006
  • Hundreds of Advanced Placement tests given in May can't be scored because parts of the exams have been lost, The Washington Post reported. Quoting officials of the Educational Testing Service, The Post said that in some cases, essays have been lost and in other cases, multiple choice answer sheets are lost. ETS said that students are being given the option of retaking the test, being given a partial score, or skipping the test without a score. One school official told the newspaper that he had documentation that all parts of the exams were properly shipped, and that he had had difficulty obtaining information about the situation from the College Board. (ETS manages the test for the board.)  It is unclear where the tests ended up or which students were affected, but The Edmonton Journal reported that 168 students in Alberta had been informed that their essays had been lost.
  • American University of Beirut and Lebanese American University both announced Thursday that they were resuming courses and regular operations, in the wake of the cease fire in the region.
  • Student and feminist groups in Britain are angry over the comments of Mary Beard, a professor of classics at the University of Cambridge, in which she defended past activities by professors that many would call harassment today, The Times of London reported. Beard made the comments in discussing a notorious groper, about whom female students were warned that while they would learn a lot, they would probably be "pawed about a bit," as Beard put it. She added, "It is hard to repress certain wistful academic nostalgia for that academic era before about 1980 when the erotic dimension of pedagogy which had flourished since Plato was firmly stamped out.” An official of the National Union of Students told The Times that "all students have a right to learn in an environment free from any form of harassment, and to write about it with ‘a certain wistful nostalgia’ is both shocking and unacceptable.”
  • The Dalkey Archive Press and the University of Rochester announced Thursday that the press would relocate from Illinois to the university in January. Dalkey is a top publisher in international literature and translations, and releases around 30 titles a year.
  • Many colleges yearn for university status. But consultants are warning Utah Valley State College that such a shift could cost $10 million and alter the institution's values, The Deseret News reported.
  • U.S. News & World Report releases its annual college rankings today and the press releases are already flying. Instead of reporting the rankings themselves (there are no surprises and the methodology is the same), we offer links to some of the articles we've published in the last year that may give pause about taking the ratings too seriously. We have articles about how colleges manipulate the data, how they may divert attention from real educational issues, and how some criticized the new Carnegie Classifications for making changes that were logical but might affect the U.S. News rankings. We also offer columns about how the rankings may distort the mission of public universities and prompt poor decisions by trustees.
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