This preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.
Unformatted text preview: has helped foster. One of the most
obvious examples in the university is the emphasis given to grades and cumulative grade point averages.With less and less contact between professor and student, there is little real effort to assess the quality of what students know, let alone
the quality of their overall abilities. Instead, the sole measure of the quality of
most college students is their grade in a given course and their grade point averages.Another blatant example is the emphasis on a variety of uniform exams such
as SATs and GREs in which the essence of an applicant is reduced to a few simple scores and percentiles.
Within the educational institution, the importance of grades is well known,
but somewhat less known is the way quantifiable factors have become an essential part of the process of evaluating college professors. For example, teaching
ability is very hard to evaluate. Administrators have difficulty assessing teaching
quality and thus substitute quantitative scores. Of course each score involves qualitative judgments, but this is conveniently ignored. Student opinion polls are taken
and the scores are summed, averaged, and compared.Those who score well are
deemed good teachers while those who don’t are seen as poor teachers.There are
many problems involved in relying on these scores such as the fact that easy teachers in “gut” courses may well obtain high ratings while rigorous teachers of difficult courses are likely to score poorly. . . .
In the workworld we find many examples of the effort to substitute quantity
for quality. Scientific management was heavily oriented to turning everything
work-related into quantifiable dimensions. Instead of relying on the “rule of
thumb” of the operator, scientific management sought to develop precise measures of how much work was to be done by each and every motion of the worker.
Everything that could be was reduced to numbers and all these numbers were
then analyzable using a variety of mathematical formulae.The assembly line is
similarly oriented to a variety of quantifiable dimensions such as optimizing the 375 376 PART V SOCIAL CHANGE speed of the line, minimizing time for each task, lowering the price of the finished product, increasing sales and ultimately increasing profits.The divisional
system pioneered by General Motors and thought to be one of the major reasons
for its past success was oriented to the reduction of the performance of each division to a few, bottom-line numbers. By monitoring and comparing these numbers, General Motors was able to exercise control over the results without getting
involved in the day-to-day...
View Full Document
This note was uploaded on 02/02/2014 for the course HST 414 taught by Professor Spokes during the Fall '13 term at Syracuse.
- Fall '13