Apples and oranges

May 14, 2015

I cannot see how the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Assessment of Higher Education Learning Outcomes (Ahelo) project could realistically test learning outcomes in tertiary education, given the sector’s heterogeneity (“Measure of teaching could lead to reshuffle”, News, 7 May).

The Programme for International Student Assessment tests 15-year-olds – that is, pupils who are finishing basic education. In tertiary education, the variability is much higher, especially in terms of the mix of subjects. Pure and applied subjects are different, soft and hard subjects are different as well. Besides, the OECD already runs a programme to assess the skills of the adult population: the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies. With its data, we can already compare the skills of graduates in different countries. It is hard to see what Ahelo would add, and it would hardly be a cost-effective programme.

CS Sarrico
Via timeshighereducation.co.uk

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