Quick Takes: Dispute Over SAT Drop, Oregon Student Dies in Fire, Controversial Boston U. Dean Resigns, Stalemate at Eastern Michigan, State Colleges' Accountability Plan Evolves, Child Care Company Buys College Coach,

  • The National Center for Fair and Open Testing on Wednesday released a letter it had sent to the College Board, calling into question the board's analysis of the drop in scores on the SAT this year.
  • September 7, 2006
  • The National Center for Fair and Open Testing on Wednesday released a letter it had sent to the College Board, calling into question the board's analysis of the drop in scores on the SAT this year. The board announced last week that the average critical reading score was down five points and the average math score was down two points, and officials said much of the drop was due to fewer students taking the test multiple times. FairTest did an analysis and said that based on data the College Board had released, the impact of fewer students taking the SAT multiple times would only account for about one point of the drop. But College Board officials replied that those who didn't retake the test this year were from the groups that show larger-than-average gains when they do retake the test. Officials also said that other factors played a role, such as lower averages for students who took the SAT earlier in their academic careers.
  • A student at Lane Community College died Wednesday in a fire that police investigators concluded he had purposely set to kill himself, the Associated Press reported. No one else was injured in the fire apparently set by James Scott Butcher, 36, in an apartment complex owned by the University of Oregon. (CORRECTION: An earlier version incorrectly stated that Butcher had been a student at the University of Oregon.)
  • John J. Schulz has decided to quit as dean of Boston University's College of Communication, even though a committee investigating him has found that he did nothing wrong, The Boston Globe reported. Schulz has been under fire over inaccuracies in his résumé -- he has said that they are minor or the result of a typo, while some faculty members have said that they point to a larger problem. Schulz told The Globe that the decision to resign was his.
  • Eastern Michigan University has called off negotiations with its faculty union, which is on strike, accusing the union of not negotiating in good faith. The university is encouraging students to show up for classes, while acknowledging that there may not be instructors in every classroom. The union, an affiliate of the American Association of University Professors, says that the university is misrepresenting its contract offers. A key dispute is over changes in health benefits, which the union says would amount to a net cut in compensation for professors.
  • The National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities have released a third draft of a white paper describing their proposed voluntary accountability system for measuring educational outcomes, student engagement and other things. The plan, which is evolving amid discussions by the two groups' provosts councils, now has a name -- Voluntary System of Accountability, or VSA -- and the latest draft suggests that colleges would have four possible choices for measuring student learning: the Council for Aid to Education's Collegiate Learning Assessment, the Educational Testing Service's Collegiate Assessment of Academic Proficiency, ACT's Measure of Academic Proficiency and Progress, or the ETS Graduate Record Examinations. Earlier drafts of the proposal had suggested that colleges should coalesce around a single measure.
  • Bright Horizons, a company that sets up child care programs for employers -- a number of them colleges and universities -- has purchased College Coach, a company that provides private counseling on college admissions, generally as an employee benefit provided by companies.
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