[plt-scheme] Question on a teach-scheme.org slide ("What the ETS Wishes You Didn't Know (~1998)")

From: Shriram Krishnamurthi (sk at cs.brown.edu)
Date: Wed Apr 28 13:08:58 EDT 2004

Terrence Brannon wrote:

> Slide #68 in http://www.teach-scheme.org/Talks/ts-proj.pdf
> it entitled "What the ETS Wishes You Didn't Know (~1998)"
> However, the y-axis is not labeled and I don't know what the
> abbreviation "Univ" stands for on the x-axis.

The four categories in that graph are from the US News and World
Report rankings.  LibArts is the national liberal arts colleges, Univ
is national universities (by their classification -- places like MIT,
Harvard, Chicago, Duke...), Engg is the engineering schools, and
CompSci is the top computer science programs (I believe we were going
by the NRC rankings at the graduate level).  The y-axis is the number
of schools using that language in their intro course.

This information is now, of course, grossly outdated.

> What is the qualitative summary of this set of quantitative data points?

That the ETS policymaking process suffers from the tragedy of the
commons.  If you look at what the elite schools are doing, their
profile is not only very different from the average, they also
appeared to be rejecting the ETS's direction (indeed, this is
especially true because many of these schools weren't giving college
credit to students with high AP scores).  The ETS should instead have
been following the lead of the schools that were innovating.

One could also argue (as I have) that the schools not in the elite
were not so much in agreement with the ETS but rather forced by the
normative power of ETS standards.


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