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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Did these college basketball stars only attend classes in their first semester?

"In the latest example of his longstanding distaste for Kentucky basketball, Hall of Fame coach Bob Knight said last weekend that UK's five starters in the 2010 NCAA Tournament did not attend class that spring semester."

This whole notion of the "student athlete" is claptrap.  It does nothing for the ultimate goal of providing a better education at a lower cost. Why not separate education from the business of minor-league sports?  

These future NBA players are not interested in their non-basketball education at the University of Kentucky.  It is a required rite of passage since the NCAA conspired with the NBA to force these basketball players to "invest" at least a year in college basketball before being eligible for the NBA draft.  Actually they don’t have to play college basketball; they can sit out a year or play beach volleyball but obviously that won’t help them land a lucrative contract when they are eligible. 

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How do we measure how well our colleges are doing?

This writer misses a critical point.  The education factories (aka colleges and universities) take in a student and then produce a graduate (with the exception of those that drop out or flunk out).  So measuring only the average SAT scores of the incoming freshman tells you nothing about how an institution of higher learning has done at the job of education. Likewise, measuring only the GMAT test scores of the graduating seniors tells one only how the graduating seniors did-not how much the students learned.  And yet both of these factors are heavily weighted in the formulas that rank our colleges and universities.   

How do we measure a typical factory? The measure of economic value created is output divided by input.  One takes something of less value and efficiently creates a product of greater value. If one takes something worth a dollar and adds a dollar of time and materials then you have $2 invested. If someone then buys that product for $4 you have produced $4 of value for $2 of input–well done. On the other hand if you spend $10 producing something and can only sell the finished product for $5 then you have destroyed $5 of economic value. You will be out of business soon (unless you are the government or have big government subsidies).

Back to how we measure college. My theory is that if I have a college or university that is lucky enough to accept only the brightest 2% of graduating American high school students (say Harvard) that four years later this same college should produce graduates that are in the top 2% of IQs (even if their "education" has been absolute BS).

But what if a college accepted students that had average incoming SAT scores in the 50th percentile and yet it produced graduates with GMAT scores in the 70th percentile? Now we’re talking. I would have to say that this college has made a real difference. Unfortunately I have yet to find this mythical institution. 

Measuring how bright the incoming freshmen are is a horrible way to measure how good a college is.  Likewise tracking how well the graduates "do from the U" without regard to the IQ of the incoming freshmen also tells me little.

What matters is how much improvement in thinking, questioning, writing, and preparedness for the job market that an institution of higher learning produces for the time and dollar spent.

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Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Definition of College According to the Urban Dictionary

The Urban Dictionary is one of my favorite "research" tools these days.  If you want the real meaning of a word or the story behind the story, this is a great place to start.

Here are a few of my favorite definitions from this institution of higher learning:

"A magical place where it is rumored that learning takes place, although to those who enter it is often described differently afterward, as a beatiful land in which beer flows in amber currents next to a golden pasture, where virgins lie naked with gentle smiles upon their calm, inviting faces; but more precisely, a Shangri-La rite of passage into adulthood which involves rampant consumption of alcoholic beverages, flagrant and promiscuous sexual behavior, and a general and fundamental disregard for any form of responsibility by its habitants.

Thank you sir, may I have another?"

by Phlagellum September 23, 2003

"The place where you enter inexorbitant amounts of debt to "learn" things you will never apply once to your actual occupation. Basically, an expensive 4-year waiting period for a paper called 'degree'.

I will owe Wells Fargo my first born so I can pay off my college."

by Drenam February 02, 2003

"An alternative to buying a Ferrari (they cost about the same).
Damn, that Ferrari costs almost as much as college."

by Duesey December 01, 2003

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