Archivo de la categoría: Política

El proletraiado académico: los profesores “adjuntos” o “meros” docentes

picasso_old_guitarist.jpg El caso de los profesores adjuntos, como se les llama en los Estados Unidos –quienes hace unos días eran caracterizados allá de la siguiente forma y interrogados así: “They don’t make much money, they don’t have health benefits, and they don’t have job security. So why do adjuncts keep showing up to teach in college classrooms semester after semester, year after year?”– representa un fenómeno que acompaña casi inevitablemente a los procesos de masificación de la matrícula y de continua e ilimitada expansión de las funciones docentes.
Surge entonces una capa de docentes o profesores sin posiciones estables, frecuentem ete sin adscripción real ni a una disciplina ni a una institución, que proveen docencia a granel y son remunerados escasamente y tratados, la mayoría de las veces, sin mayor cuidado ni reconocimiento por su labor.
A continuación: el estado del debate sobre estos asuntos en la academia de los EE.UU. visto a través de dos artículos de revistas especializadas.
Seeking Tenure ‘Conversion’ Inside Higher Ed, October 28, 2009
In discussions about the use and abuse of adjunct faculty members, “conversion” is a controversial topic. Typically it refers to a decision by a college or university to convert some number of adjunct positions into a number (typically a smaller number) of tenure-track positions. The idea of conversion has been key to the reform proposals of national faculty groups. Some colleges actually have bucked the trends and converted slots to the tenure track in various ways.
The American Association of University Professors on Tuesday entered the conversion debate in a significant way with a new draft policy on the treatment of adjunct faculty members.
A cursory look at the draft might suggest that it is just another statement from a faculty group calling for better treatment of adjuncts and the creation of more tenure-track lines. But it actually reflects an attempt to shift how conversion might take place — by calling for a switch not of slots, but in the status of those currently working as adjuncts, whom the AAUP wants tenured (or converted).
Specifically, it calls for these faculty members to be considered for tenure based on their teaching contributions (assuming that like most adjuncts they focus on teaching), even if they are at research universities. Further, while the AAUP praises the tactic used by many academic unions and some individual colleges of providing adjuncts with more job security and better benefits and pay, the association goes on record as saying that anything short of tenure can’t be viewed as a substitute.
“As faculty hired into contingent positions seek and obtain greater employment security, often through collective bargaining, it is becoming clear that academic tenure and employment security are not reducible to each other,” the draft statement says. “A potentially crippling development in these arrangements is that many, while improving on the entirely insecure positions they replace, offer limited conceptions of academic citizenship and service, few protections for academic freedom, little opportunity for professional growth, and no professional peer scrutiny in hiring, evaluation, and promotion.”
Many parts of the AAUP policy are likely to find favor with adjuncts and other faculty members, many of whom fear the impact of the shift at many colleges to reliance on adjuncts as opposed to those on the tenure track.
But parts of the draft could be controversial. For instance, the theory behind the draft is that anyone who has been teaching year after year at a college should be qualified for a tenure track job. At the vast majority of colleges that are teaching oriented, the AAUP can argue that the adjuncts are in fact performing the duties of faculty members just as those down the hall (with tenure) do.
But the issue is more complicated at research universities — which led to some disagreements on the AAUP panel that drafted the report. Most research universities look for evidence of research potential when hiring for the tenure track, and most adjuncts — by virtue of spending all of their time teaching, and much of it rushing from campus to campus, with little if any support for attending conferences and other research activities — don’t tend to have the same publication records as others.
So universities that in fact employ the same adjuncts year after year to teach freshman composition might never seriously consider those individuals for a tenure-track line in English. How would conversion take place there?
The AAUP draft isn’t specific on the issue, because of the disagreements about what to do. One vision — outlined by Marc Bousquet, co-chair of the committee that wrote the draft and a professor of English at Santa Clara University — is to push for the creation of dual tenure track lines at research universities. Bousquet said that there is “a mistaken idea that tenure should be reserved for research-intensive” careers. “The foundation for academic freedom” that tenure provides is just as important for those teaching, so they should be offered tenure as teaching professors at research universities, he said. The bottom line, he said, is that anyone teaching at a college or university needs academic freedom that only comes with tenure.
While Bousquet acknowledged that there are concerns associated with having multiple tenure tracks at the same universities, he said that the most important thing was to provide full academic freedom protections to everyone, not just those who can get jobs based on their research. It would be problematic if research universities in such a system treated those on the research-oriented track better than those on the teaching-oriented track, he said, “but there are hierarchies now. They already exist.” The difference is that those on the bottom of today’s hierarchies don’t have any tenure rights.
While many on the committee endorsed Bousquet’s vision of dual tenure tracks to allow for the conversion of slots, one member who did not is Cary Nelson, national president of the AAUP. Nelson said that a “two-tiered class structure” would be “incredibly destructive” to morale among research university faculty, and that he can’t support such a measure. Nelson said that a majority of members of the committee that drafted the policy probably agree with Bousquet and that the issue would probably be addressed as the policy is refined.
At the same time, Nelson said that it is disingenuous for research universities to say that they can’t hire adjuncts to the tenure track because of standards. “How can they say that about adjuncts they employ for 25 years?” he asked. So Nelson said that he would propose that research universities hire their adjuncts into tenure-track lines “as a stopgap measure, to get justice for the contingent faculty members,” but then stop using contingent faculty members. So future hires would be on a common tenure track, with research and teaching obligations expected of all hires.
To permanently create separate tracks for teaching- and research-oriented faculty, he said, “would undermine the very nature of the research university.”
While the AAUP draft doesn’t explicitly endorse the two track system, it comes awfully close.
It says: “The best practice for institutions of all types is to convert the status of faculty serving contingently to eligible for tenure with only minor changes in job description. This means that faculty hired contingently with teaching as the major component of their workload will become tenure-eligible primarily on the basis of successful teaching. (Similarly, contingent faculty with research as the major component of their workload may become eligible for tenure primarily on the basis of successful research.) In the long run, however, a balance is desirable for most faculty. A tenure bid by a person in a teaching-intensive position is unlikely to be successful in the absence of campus citizenship and professional development, so even teaching-intensive tenure-eligible workloads should include service and appropriate forms of engagement in research or the scholarship of teaching.”
Beyond recommending this course of action as a means to “stabilize” the faculty, the draft statement outlines various college policies that it endorses. And it offers reasons why the current system of increased use of non-tenure-track faculty members hurts the academic freedom of all professors.
“In short, tenure was framed to unite the faculty within a system of common professional values, standards, and mutual responsibilities,” the draft says. “By 2007, however, almost 70 percent of faculty members were employed off the tenure track. Many institutions use contingent faculty appointments throughout their programs; some retain a tenurable faculty in their traditional or flagship programs while staffing others — such as branch campuses, online offerings, and overseas campuses — almost entirely with contingent faculty. Faculty serving contingently generally work at significantly lower wages, often without health coverage and other benefits, and in positions that do not incorporate all aspects of university life or the full range of faculty rights and responsibilities. The tenure track has not vanished, but it has ceased to be the norm for faculty.”
While experts on the academic workforce have only started to look at the document, many offered praise and others were critical (for varying reasons). The American Federation of Teachers offered support, calling the draft “a welcome contribution to the cause shared by the two organizations.” The AFT’s Faculty and College Excellence project has as its twin goals the improvement of adjunct working conditions and the creation of more tenure-track positions. While the AFT has said that adjuncts deserve fair consideration for those positions, it has not suggested that the the individuals should be moved to the tenure track in the same way being suggested by the AAUP.
Maria Maisto, president of the Board of Directors of New Faculty Majority: The National Coalition for Adjunct and Contingent Equity, praised the AAUP draft, and she drew particular attention to the way the AAUP proposes to get adjuncts into the tenure track. “It’s not just a question of creating more positions, but you have to take advantage and reinvest in the resources you already have,” she said. “We’re really pleased with that.”
Maisto said that when colleges simply add tenure-track positions, adjuncts frequently lose jobs, unfairly. She noted, for example, that many colleges routinely hire those without Ph.D.’s to teach certain courses, but then — after adding a tenure-track slot for the courses — say that a doctorate is a requirement. “That’s the kind of scenario that the report recognizes,” she said. “We think the conversion of persons rather than positions is the way to go.”
But for others, that’s reason to question the AAUP draft. KC Johnson, a historian at Brooklyn College, spoke out against a conversion plan similar to what the AAUP is suggesting when the City University of New York faculty union sought one. (While the union didn’t win the conversion plan as it proposed, CUNY did create numerous new tenure-track positions.)
Johnson said he opposed the AAUP draft for the same reasons he opposed the idea proposed by the CUNY union. “The AAUP statement is deeply troubling,” he said. “Adjuncts are not hired through competitive, national searches, nor (with very, very rare exceptions) does an adjunct position contain any expectation of scholarly production. Converting them en masse to tenure-track faculty status would send a message to graduate students entering the field — much less to state legislators, donors, and alumni — that institutions no longer have any interest in ensuring that tenure-track positions result in the hire of the best candidate, drawn from a national pool to include consideration of the candidate’s scholarly publications.”
Keith Hoeller, co-founder of the Washington State Part-Time Faculty Association, said that he thinks the AAUP draft is based on a presumption that tenure is the only way to protect faculty rights. Since Hoeller — a long-term adjunct, who teaches at several colleges in the Seattle area — believes that he and many others will work without tenure, he thinks that’s the wrong approach. “I think the AAUP is trying to put their fingers in the holes of the dike, but they don’t have enough fingers,” he said.
Specifically, Hoeller said that the conversions envisioned by the AAUP draft will not take place at any kind of level to employ most adjuncts. “This would end up pitting adjunct against adjunct to compete for these new slots, and will leave the tenured faculty in control,” he said. If research universities created the new track that Bousquet suggested for teaching-oriented faculty members, “they would be a little above the other adjuncts, but not at the same level of the tenured faculty,” Hoeller said. “Adding more tracks is not going to solve the problem.”
If the AAUP and other faculty groups cannot bring tenure-track options to everyone, Hoeller said, they should look for new ways to protect academic freedom. “There has to be a whole new look at the system,” he said. “They need to think outside the box, but they can’t. I’m not surprised that an association that’s 90 percent tenured faculty would decide that the solution is more tenured faculty.”
— Scott Jaschik
© Copyright 2009 Inside Higher Ed

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Educación para el futuro: Políticas y prácticas – una visión desde la OCDE

oecd0709.gif Palabras del Secretario General de la OCDE, Angel Gurría, con ocasión de la mesa redonda de Ministros de Educación que tuvo lugar en la UNESCO, 10 octubre 2009.
Education for the future – Promoting changes in policies and practices: the way forward
Remarks by Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General, delivered at the Education Ministerial Round Table, UNESCO
10 October 2009 – UNESCO, Paris, France
Director General, Madame Chair, Ministers, Ladies and Gentlemen, good morning:
I am pleased to be part of this session on “How to promote changes in policies and practices”, as this is one of the greatest challenges to improve education and the very essence of OECD work in this field. Thank you very much for the invitation. We have brought with us the ”highlights” of our yearly publication, “Education at a Glance”, as well as some very specific publications on, for example, “Education for students at risk and those with disabilities in the Baltics and South East Europe”, or “Green at Fifteen”.
The current financial and economic crisis is one of the biggest transformations of our lifetime. It is defining a tough new world. Thus, we need to revise our educational policies, to adapt them to such new reality where factors like high unemployment, growing inequalities, stronger competition, fewer jobs, enhanced interdependence, new business ethics, constant innovation and, if we get it right, “green growth” are becoming the new pointers for our societies of the future.
We therefore need to prepare for such a challenging future. This is where education comes in and becomes critical.
1. Rising skills: a first crucial target
We are currently facing the greatest job crisis of our lives. The average unemployment rate in the OECD area could approach 10% by 2010. Youth unemployment has soared to 20-30% in some countries. This figure translates into 57 million people out of a job in the OECD zone. The number of unemployed is even larger in developing countries, and is sometimes hard to track because of the phenomenon of informality.
Education and training are key elements to our response to this crisis. If we want to provide jobseekers with the re-employment assistance they require, and minimise long-term unemployment, we need to emphasize training.
As we documented in the most recent edition (the 29th) of our “Employment OutlooEmployment Outlook”, the job prospects for those with few qualifications are deteriorating rapidly in this crisis environment. Across OECD countries, over 40% of young people who have not completed secondary school are not employed. This is more than the double of the youth unemployment rate. Many of those who become unemployed stay unemployed for a long time. New graduates face serious difficulties in finding jobs and enterprises cut training opportunities in the vocational area. All because of the crisis.
And yet, we have powerful evidence that education is the key to addressing the economic and social challenges of our times, including a way to get out of the crisis faster. We continue to see rising economic and social benefits for those who are skilled, as well as deteriorating opportunities for those without adequate education.
We have made calculation on how worth it is for one to get higher education. It is enormously positive. Actually, there is a considerable earnings premium for people with degrees over their working lives, which averages now $186,000 across OECD countries. Even when you hold such benefits against what governments and individuals spend on education, the net public return from an investment in tertiary education is highly positive. For individuals, it pays to invest in education. You clearly have a very positive costs / benefits ratio.
You can look at the other side of the coin too: the economic loss imposed by poor educational performance might be even greater than the output shortfall in the current economic crisis. For example, if the United States had closed the gap regarding performing education systems such as Finland and Korea, GDP in 2008 could have been $1.3 trillion to $2.3 trillion higher (equivalent to 9 – 16% of GDP).
There is no doubt that education systems have responded to the rising demand for better skilled people. Indeed, the volume of educational activity has expanded at an unprecedented pace. University graduation rates doubling from 20% in 1995 to almost 40% in 2007, in the OECD area. In China and other emerging markets, the rate of expansion has been even faster.
Producing more of the same qualifications cannot be the answer when the nature of the skills that matter is changing too.
2. Education systems have to put greater emphasis on 21st Century skills
Our economic growth is increasingly driven by innovation, making skills obsolete at a much faster pace than before. This is why Ministers called upon the OECD to develop an Innovation Strategy that looks, among other things, at how education and training can develop the skills that matter for the world to come. They also more recently gave us a mandate to develop a Green Growth Strategy. Innovation and Green Growth clearly go hand in hand.
How can schools and universities prepare people for a world where work can be digitized, automated, outsourced and green?
The response lies in education. The key to success is no longer simply whether you can reproduce something you have learned, but whether you can extrapolate from what you know and apply your knowledge in a novel and changing setting. This shows that if students learn merely to memorise and reproduce knowledge and skills, they risk being prepared for jobs that are in fact disappearing. The problem is that this is precisely what many schools have focussed on for so many decades.
Of course, state-of-the-art skills in a field will always be important. Innovative and productive people generally have specialised skills. But there are other important competencies that education needs to focus on. Let me mention three:
First of all, in our schools, students typically learn individually and thus, at the end of the school year, we certify their individual achievements. But the more globalised and inter dependent the world becomes, the more we need great collaborators and orchestrators, not isolated individuals, no matter how well they do. We need to form people for a more inclusive world: people who can appreciate and build on different values, beliefs, cultures. Inter-personal competencies to produce inclusive solutions will be of growing importance.
Second, the conventional approach in school is often to break problems down into manageable bits and pieces and then teach students how to solve each one of these bits and pieces individually. But in modern economies, we create value by synthesising different fields of knowledge, making connections between ideas that previously seemed unrelated. That requires being familiar with and open and receptive to knowledge in other fields rather than our own field. But apart from Japan and perhaps the Nordic countries in Europe, there are few incentives for teachers to collaborate across disciplines.
Third, if we log on to the Internet today, we can find everything we are looking for. But the more content we can search and access, the more important it is to teach our students to sort and filter information. The search for relevance is very critical in the presence of abundance of information. We also need the capacity to explain content in one area to people working in other areas.
The 21st century schools therefore need to help young individuals to constantly adapt and grow, to develop their capacity and motivation, to expand their horizons and transfer and apply knowledge in novel settings.
This crisis is exposing the gaps in our education system. For example, nowadays people need a much better financial literacy. They need to be able to think in terms of scenarios, weigh risks and probabilities, and assess the short-term and long-term economic impact of today’s decisions.
Our relation to climate change is another example. Technological innovation and well-targeted policy instruments are essential. But ultimately, green growth will rely on people’s behaviour and on their own individual understanding of its social and environmental impact.
We can extend the list further but the point is that, whatever competencies are considered relevant for success in modern societies, our educational policies and our schools need to adapt to them but mostly, to provide them.
One important issue for example is that children nowadays don’t want to become scientists, they prefer to become football players or rock stars. We are running out of vocation, out of the future.
3. The importance of education reform: learning form each other
And thus, we must ask how efficiently are our educational policies adapting to the new global circumstances? Not very well, I should say. This is a key question for the future of our nations.
In OECD countries, political leaders have demonstrated a commitment to reforming education systems. But if we are to keep public policy credible, it is important to make sure that reforms actually do change policies and practices. And here is where we have some worries.
A growing body of evidence and statistics on education systems and outcomes ─ from sources like the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and the Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) ─ show that the goals of education reforms are not always materialising. There is a broad consensus on the goals but the degree of execution is not the same. But there are surprising gaps in our knowledge of how to make that happen. The political economy of reforms in the field of education is enormously difficult. Breaking the status quo is not easy.
Overcoming active resistance to change in educational policy is one of our central challenges. We have much to learn from each other to address this challenge.
At the OECD, we have been comparing the effectiveness of our educational policies and reforms for many years. These international comparisons have helped us identify our common challenges and best practices.
We have learned, for example, that teachers and school leaders are still not being systematically prepared to use performance measurement and diagnostic tools to identify students in difficulty and constructively address their learning needs. And they spend too much time in administration issues or in addressing discipline problems of individual students.
But we have also learned that change is possible: by shifting public concern away from the mere control over the resources and content of education toward a focus on outcomes; by moving from “hit and miss” policies to establishing universal high standards; by moving from uniformity to embracing diversity and individualising learning. And we have identified the best practices to produce these changes.
We have seen, for example, good success stories: like the Scottish government’s major reforms, earlier this decade, which started with an overhaul of the teachers training and salaries. Teachers then became advocates and agents of further reform.
We have seen countries like Mexico where the government recently embarked on a series of far-reaching reforms to curriculum, examinations, and teacher training, evaluation and certification, based on OECD benchmarks and exchange of best practices.
We have seen countries like Finland whose reforms focused on teachers’ selection, remuneration and standing in society, with the results that Finland always comes out at the top. There is usually a trade-off between teachers’ pay and the size of the classes, which requires a careful balancing act.
It is no longer enough for national education policy makers to gauge education improvement against their own past outcomes. They have to keep an eye on how much other countries are improving as well. This is the value of multilateral cooperation. This is why these international conferences are so important. This is why we will continue our fruitful collaboration with UNESCO to provide the cross-cutting policy expertise needed to support governments in addressing these challenges.
Dear Ministers, Ladies and Gentlemen:
We need to empower the future generations with new tools to produce a better world; to adapt our educational policies to a new, more competitive and globalized reality; to identify our leads and lags, compare our know-how and prepare to learn from each other through enhanced multilateral cooperation. Remember: “In times of change, learners inherit the Earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” May these words by Eric Hoffer stay in our minds as we try to prepare for the future. This is probably an exaggeration, as being learned is of great importance to become a learner.
I will close my speech by thanking Mr Matsura, with whom I had the privilege and satisfaction to work. I am proud of the work we shared with you. Together we have made a difference. I wish you good luck and present you my congratulations.
Thank you very much for your attention.

¿Para qué sirven los rankings de universidades?

anillo.jpg Apareció en Boletín Nº 6 del Programa Anillo(SOC01) de Políticas en Educación Superior, dedicado esta vez al tema de los rankings de universidades. Fue editado por Judith Scheele con la colaboración de Felipe Salazar, ambos del Centro de Políticas Comparadas de Educación de la UDP.
Algunas de las preguntas que busca responder son:
¿Para qué sirven los rankings de universidades?
¿Cuáles son los rankings más importantes?
¿Cuáles son los argumentos críticos respecto a los rankings?
¿Cuáles son los parámetros en que se basan los rankings de universidades?
¿Qué estándares internacionales existen acerca del ranking de instituciones de educación superior?
¿Cómo se puede mejorar la calidad y fiabilidad de los rankings?
Bajar el Boletín aquípdfIcon_24.png266 KB
Ver números anteriores aquí.
Los rankings son un fenómeno relativamente nuevo en la educación superior. Fueron introducidos hace un cuarto de siglo en los Estados Unidos por la revista US News and World Report con el objetivo de proporcionar información clara y práctica sobre las diferencias de calidad y prestigio entre las instituciones de educación superior (IES) a los futuros estudiantes y otros actores interesados.
En virtud del rápido crecimiento en el número y variedad de IES, los rankings se han popularizado durante las dos últimas décadas, convirtiéndose en un mecanismo universal para el fomento de la transparencia y la accountability de las universidades. Dado que la elección de una universidad es una decisión crucial para los estudiantes y sus familias, y que ella implica una significativa inversión de recursos, los rankings satisfacen una necesidad importante, proporcionando datos comparables que ayudan a los estudiantes a elegir la institución que mejor se adecúa a sus preferencias.
A pesar de la popularidad de los rankings existe un fuerte debate sobre su uso. Varios académicos y, sobre todo, instituciones, cuestionan la calidad y la fiabilidad de los rankings. Basan sus críticas en el hecho de que los productores de rankings seleccionan y ponderan los indicadores de manera subjetiva (y “arbitraria” en la opinión de los críticos), mostrando los resultados como una clasificación objetiva. Asimismo, ponen en duda la verificabilidad de los datos utilizados para elaborar los rankings. A menudo los rankings se construyen sobre la base de datos entregados por las propias universidades sin control ulterior o en base a los resultados de encuestas entre instituciones pares, lo que les resta confiabilidad y los vuelve susceptibles de manipulación.
Vista la popularidad y la rápida expansión del número de rankings de universidades, es necesario evaluar su calidad e impacto en la educación superior. Existen varias maneras de mejorar la calidad de los rankings y de hacer su uso menos polémico. La introducción de nuevas formas de ranking y mecanismos para controlar la fiabilidad de los datos, satisfaría gran parte de las exigencias de los críticos.

CRUCH vuelve a tropezar con la misma piedra y desata polémica de primavera

El Consejo de Rectores (CRUCH) ha vuelto por sus fueros y provocado una tormenta en un vaso a propósito de la fijación de la fecha en que se darán a conocer los resultados de la PSU 2009 y el período en que los jóvenes podrán postular a las universidades.
A continuación una reseña de prensa. Mi opinión personal aparecerá en los próximos días en La Tercera y será transcrita aquí.
Anteriores postings sobre el Consejo de Rectores ver aquí
Reseña de prensa en orden cornológico
— Rectores acusan abandono por parte del Estado y fijan reunión con el Mineduc por presupuesto 2010, La Tercera, 24 septiembre 2009
— Ues. estatales no aceptan ingreso de privadas a Consejo de Rectores, La Tercera, 25 septiembre 2009
— Resultados PSU en Navidad: rectores indignados por fecha, calificada por sicólogos como inoportuna, El Mercurio, 26 septiembre 2009
— Mineduc se reunirá con Demre para analizar fecha de PSU: La Prueba de Selección Universitaria tendrá su proceso de desarrollo durante la Navidad, La Tercera, 27 septiembre 2009
— Zolezzi aclara que entrega de puntaje PSU se fijó en agosto, La Nación, 28 septiembre 2009
— Zolezzi aclara polémica por fecha de entrega de resultados PSU, La Tercera, 28 septiembre 2009
— Rector Zolezzi defiende rol de las ues estatales en polémica por PSU, Universidad de Santiago de Chile – Universia, 29 septiembre 2009
— Consejo de Rectores revisará fecha de inicio de postulaciones tras PSU, Emol, 30 septiembre 2009
— Universidades privadas reclaman por resultados de PSU: El Mineduc y los rectores analizarán hoy las fechas de la PSU, La Tercera, 30 septiembre 2009
— Fech pide regularizar “ofertón” de universidades privadas, La Tercera, 1 octubre 2009
— Ues. estatales no aceptan ingreso de privadas a Consejo de Rectores, La Nación, 1 octubre 2009
— Y ahora… ¿colusión de universidades?, Tomás Flores, Decano Facultad de Ciencias Económicas – Universidad Mayor, El Mercurio, columna de opinión, 2 octubre 2009
— Ministra Jiménez pide a Consejo de Rectores adelantar postulaciones a universidades, Radio Universidad de Chile, 6 de octubre 2009
— Resultados de la PSU estarán disponibles el 21 de diciembre, Universia, 6 octubre 2009
— Rector de la Usach pidió a universidades privadas que ”se abstengan” de captar alumnos en Navidad, La Segunda, 6 de Octubre de 2009
— Rectores adelantaron entrega de puntajes PSU, La Nación, 6 octubre 2009
— Universidades adelantan resultados de la PSU, El Mercurio, 6 octubre 2009
— Rector Bravo (U. Frontera) molesto con Rosso (UC), El Mercurio, 6 octubre 2009
— Competencia desleal en la educación superior, El Mercurio, opinión editorial, 6 octubre 2009

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La ley de bronce de las desigualdades en el acceso a la educación superior

Artículo de Sigal Alon, de la Universidad de Tel-Aviv, publicado en el American Sociological Review, 2009, Vol. 74, pp. 731 – 755, sobre las persistencia en las desigualdades de clase en el acceso a la educación superior de los EE.UU., a pesar de la enorme expansión experimentada durante la segunda mitad del siglo XX. Analiza el peso del origen socio-económico de los alumnos y su capital cultural, el papel de las pruebas tipo SAT y la reproducción clasista de las ventajas de acceso.
Ver resumen del artículo (5 pp.) aquípdfIcon_24.png
Ver más abajo Abstract y Comentario aparecido en Inside Higher Ed.
The Evolution of Class Inequality in Higher Education: Competition, Exclusion, and Adaptation — Sigal Alon, Tel-Aviv University
Why is There Such a Large Class Divide in Admission to Selective U.S. Universities? Which high school students are best poised to go to college, especially the most selective universities? While we like to think that college admissions depend on individual attributes such as hard work and individual merit, in reality, college admissions are far more biased. Students from the lowest classes are substantially disadvantaged compared with students from more privileged backgrounds, and this disadvantage only increases the more selective and elite the college. This inequality is partly due to adaptations made by middle- and high-income students and their parents. With more resources at their disposal, higher-income students can afford private schools, tutors, and preparatory SAT classes. These adaptation strategies matter because colleges strongly emphasize test scores and grades. Tests that appear to be objective measures of merit and skill are actually biased toward upper-class students who can use their greater resources to better prepare for them. The result is that upper-class students gain an advantage in college admissions that effectively maintains inequality in higher education. One solution to lessening this inequality in admissions to four-year and selective institutions is for schools to consider class-based affirmative action.
Class Advantage
Inside Higher Ed, October 2, 2009
Between 1955 and 2005, college enrollments increased to 17.5 million from 2.6 million — and the percentage of high school graduates seeking some higher education increased to 70 percent from 45 percent.
According to sociological theories of modernization, such a “massive expansion of higher education” should have disproportionately helped the less privileged in society, promoting their upward mobility, according to a paper just released in the American Sociological Review. But that didn’t happen. And the paper — by Sigal Alon, a sociologist at Tel Aviv University who has conducted extensive work on American college-going patterns — suggests the reasons why.
The key factors, she writes, are that demand for higher education outpaced supply (even with all of that growth in available slots), that testing became a more important factor in admissions at more institutions, and that wealthier families are much speedier to adapt to changes in admissions rules.
While the findings make her sympathetic to some recent trends in admissions — such as the movement to go SAT-optional — they also leave her skeptical that such shifts will be enough to change class divides in higher education.
Alon’s study is based on three large national surveys of students that provide data on what happened to the high school graduating classes of 1972, 1982 and 1992. She finds that much of the growth in enrollment of students of lower income socioeconomic groups came at two-year colleges, while gains at four-year institutions over all and selective four-year institutions were quite modest.
During the 1970s, she found, there was more progress, and this is a period when colleges that greatly expanded capacity (individually and in their entirety) during the 1960s to meet swelling enrollments found a dropoff in the number of new applicants. From the most elite institutions to open admission colleges, institutions became less competitive — and the ability of low-income students to get in grew.
But from the 1980s on, that stopped happening. During that period, she writes, the trend was one of greater emphasis on standardized tests — not just at the most competitive colleges, but across higher education. While this process was gradual and started before the 1980s, it took off then.
Looking over a longer period of time, she notes that in the 1950s, only a few hundred colleges even considered test scores in admissions, while doing so is the norm today. She suggests another comparison: Between 1947 and 2001, the number of enrolled students increased by seven times, while the number of SAT takers rose 70-fold. (She details evidence about the increasing weight given to test scores in admissions, a topic on which she has written previously, in an online supplement to the article. While the article isn’t available online, the supplement is and may be found here.)
In more recent years, she notes, tutoring and coaching services have proliferated, and the correlation between SAT scores and family wealth has been consistent. Beyond the obvious economic issues at play, Alon writes that this is part of the sociological theory of “adaptation.” Parents of all economic classes want their children to succeed, but the wealthier ones “better understand the postsecondary landscape and competitive admission process and they invest in resources to promote college attendance,” she writes. As a result test score gaps of high school seniors — grouped by economic background — have grown during recent years.
Alon writes that as long as college admissions remains competitive, such trends will continue — with wealthier parents finding ways to improve performance for their children, no matter what measures colleges use to sort applicants.
As a result, she predicts that if more colleges go SAT-optional, which many colleges report has led to increases in applications from and admission of a more socioeconomically diverse set of students, that increased diversity may not last. “Providing that the demand for postsecondary education surpasses the supply of slots, exclusion of some sort will persist as institutions look to screen swelling applicant pools. Under such conditions, the covert process of adaptation will continue to promote the expansion of class inequality,” Alon writes.
Her solution? Class-based affirmative action, in which current and future adaptation by wealthy families is balanced by an admissions edge given to those without the means to match those advantages.
“By offsetting the depressing effect of home disadvantages on test scores, an edge in admission to low-[socioeconomic status] seniors will merely match the competitive advantages that accrue to the privileged through adaptation,” she writes. “Those most damaged by adaptation, talented underprivileged seniors, would benefit the most from a policy that cultivates dreams, aspirations, and ambitions for a type of education that is beyond reach without preferential treatment.”
— Scott Jaschik

Costo de la educación superior: ¿quién paga?

LogoElMercurio.gif Columna publicada en El Mercurio, página de Educación, domingo 27 septiembre 2009.
Costo de la educación superior: ¿quién paga?
José Joaquín Brunner
Suele destacarse, con razón, que Chile ostenta uno de los más altos índices de esfuerzo de los hogares para el financiamiento de la educación superior.
Efectivamente, mientras en nuestro país las familias y los estudiantes contribuyen con un 83% del gasto total en instituciones de educación terciaria, en los países miembros de la OCDE dicha cifra oscila entre 4% en Dinamarca y 53% en la República de Corea, sin superar un 20% en el promedio de estos países.
Una parte de la explicación radica en el bajísimo gasto público que se destina en Chile a la educación superior; apenas un 0,3% del PIB, siendo el gasto privado de un 1,4% del PIB. En cambio, en el promedio de la OCDE, dichas cifras son, respectivamente, 1% y 0,5%.
Vivimos pues en mundos diametralmente distintos. Una diferencia es la proporción de estudiantes matriculados en instituciones privadas sin subsidio estatal: un 14,2% en carreras técnico-vocacionales y un 13,7% en programas académico-profesionales dentro del mundo OCDE, por oposición a Chile donde las cifras correspondientes son 90% y 43%.
Otro contraste: en nuestro país también los estudiantes inscritos en instituciones con subsidio fiscal pagan un elevado precio, a diferencia de lo que ocurre en varios países de la OCDE, donde solamente pagan un mínimo en ese tipo de instituciones.
Dicho a la manera de los debates televisivos, estaríamos aquí frente a un mundo neoliberal donde la educación superior se compra, en oposición a otro fraternal y solidario donde ella se dona generosamente por el Estado.
La verdad es otra, sin embargo. Primero, el mundo gratuito de la educación terciaria se halla en retirada no sólo en Asia, Europa Central y del Este y los países ricos del Pacífico, sino también en el Reino Unido, los Países Bajos, Canadá y otros antiguos bastiones del Estado de bienestar.
Enseguida, la provisión fuertemente subsidiada de enseñanza terciaria, allí donde subsiste, se compensa con altas tasas impositivas para personas y empresas. Por ejemplo, en Dinamarca los ingresos tributarios recolectados por el gobierno representan un 36% del PIB; en Chile es apenas alrededor de un 20%.
Cabe preguntar, entonces, si acaso se justifica el extraordinario esfuerzo en que incurren las familias chilenas para financiar la educación superior de sus hijos. Todo parece confirmarlo.
Los jóvenes en posesión de un título se encuentran no sólo mejor protegidos de los vaivenes del desempleo y gozan de una serie de beneficios no-monetarios, sino que obtienen, además, un importante premio salarial en el mercado de trabajo.
En efecto, mientras en los países de la OCDE los graduados universitarios reciben en promedio remuneraciones 1,6 veces superiores a las que obtienen personas con educación media completa, en Chile dicha diferencia es de casi 4 veces según cifras recientes.
En suma, la educación superior es cara y en todas partes la financian, al final, los hogares. Pueden hacerlo directamente, por la vía de aranceles y otras tasas pagadas a las instituciones, o bien de manera indirecta, a través de los impuestos.
En Chile se ha optado por el primer camino. Sin embargo, la contribución de las familias y de los propios beneficiados se ha vuelto insostenible para la mayoría, a pesar de los esquemas de crédito estudiantil y de becas existentes. Éstos necesitan ser racionalizados y ampliados, para lo cual es imprescindible un mayor gasto fiscal.
El próximo gobierno deberá elegir entre aumentar dicho gasto por el camino de una mayor tributación o reasignando fondos públicos y empleándolos de manera más eficiente.
Recursos asociados en el Blog durante el mes de septiembre
La crisis alcanza a las universidades públicas más rica: Berkeley, 24 septiembre 2009
¿Por qué aumenta el precio de los estudios superiores?, 19 septie,bre 2009
Cómo ahorrar dineros del presupuesto universitario en tiempos de crisis, 12 septiembre 2009
Panorama de la Educación 2009: Indicadores de la OCDE, 9 septiembre 2009

Procesos de acreditación: información e indicadores. Un análisis de la literatura internacional.

En este documento (Borrador preliminar sólo para comentarios) de septiembre de 2009 (54 pp.), Judith Scheele, con la colaboración de José Joaquín Brunner, revisan la literatura internacional sobre el tema y ofrecen una síntesis de los principales tópicos abordados por ella.
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1. Características básicas de los sistemas de acreditación
1.1. Enfoques y metodologías
1.2. Criterios, estándares e indicadores
1.3. Evaluación y control de los procesos de acreditación
2. Aplicación práctica de sistemas de acreditación: ejemplos nacionales
2.1. Estados Unidos de América
2.2. Australia y Japón
2.3. Unión Europea
Anexo 1: Lista de indicadores claves de performance (ICPs)
Anexo 2: Ejemplo de un informe de meta-acreditación – Evaluación de la Agencia Nacional de Evaluación y Acreditación de la Calidad, España
La acreditación como forma de asegurar la calidad de la educación superior existe hace más de veinte años con aplicación relativamente generalizada en los países desarrollados.
La mayoría de los países del mundo ha establecido procedimientos y sistemas de aseguramiento de la calidad. Los modelos tradicionales e informales de autorregulación académica –considerados durante siglos medios suficientemente efectivos para garantizar la calidad– fueron sustituidos por mecanismos formales de aseguramiento de la calidad que conllevan varios procedimientos externos de evaluación e inspección.
En este contexto, la noción de calidad se transformó en un instrumento imprescindible para la evaluación de programas e instituciones de educación superior, con efectos potencialmente decisivos (como la denegación de fondos públicos a las instituciones que no cumplen con los criterios de calidad) (Van Damme, 2004: 134-5).
Por medio de estándares formales los consejos (nacionales) de acreditación establecen el nivel mínimo de calidad –o en algunos casos el nivel de excelencia– que las instituciones de educación superior deben poseer para obtener el estatus de acreditadas. De esta manera, se puede distinguir entre instituciones y programas de estudio de buena calidad y aquellos que, según los criterios externos, no alcanzan el nivel mínimo de calidad.
Dados los continuos cambios y desarrollos en la educación terciaria –internacionalización, desregulación, autonomía creciente de las instituciones e intervención de mecanismos de mercado en el sector– la calidad se convierte en un criterio cada vez más importante para que gobiernos, estudiantes y académicos puedan determinar cuáles instituciones de educación superior merecen una preferencia. A su vez, la acreditación es el método por excelencia empleado para asegurar y estimular la calidad.
Este ensayo analiza la acreditación y los modelos de inspección y evaluación involucrados en ella. Primero, consideraremos las diferentes formas de acreditación con los correspondientes métodos de evaluación. En este marco se analizan también los estándares básicos de calidad, establecidos por los organismos de acreditación como benchmarks (inter)nacionales, y los indicadores que sirven para medir el desempeño de los programas e instituciones de educación superior.
Después, el segundo capítulo se centra en algunos ejemplos concretos de acreditación en países desarrollados. Examinando varios sistemas nacionales de acreditación, mostraremos las diferencias entre países en cuanto al enfoque y contenido de estos procesos.
Recursos asociados
Educación terciaria y mercado laboral: Formación profesional, empleo y empleabilidad. Revisión de la literatura internacional, 25 septiembre 2009
El aseguramiento de la calidad en la educación terciaria no universitaria. Un análisis del sector de educación terciaria no universitaria y sus mecanismos de evaluación en los países de la OCDE, 24 septiembre 2009
Formación de doctorado en ciencias e ingenierías en los países desarrollados: evoluciones recientes y perspectivas, 23 septiembre 2009