Monday, August 23, 2010

The Old Alma Mater

Wayne State University was in the headlines today for not graduating enough minority students.  Actually, I find it interesting that we still track graduation rates by race.  But that is not the point of this blog today.  Rather, it is about graduates actually performing as though they went to college.

Just recently someone said to me that if a certain person graduated from the University of Michigan with not one, but two, degrees, then they were very disappointed in the university.  They said the standards must have really declined to allow that to happen as the woman was a complete 'ditz'.

This is nothing new.  I am sure each of us knows someone that we cannot believe actually made it through college.  Of course, we must also remember that not everyone is an A or even a B student.  You can graduate with Cs and spend many years doing it.  When my youngest was at Wayne, he commented once that he did not know how some students even got admitted.

When I was teaching at Detroit General (Receiving) Hospital, we used to have multiple choice and essay exams for our medical technology students.  I taught clinical enzymology and I wanted to make sure that students could actually explain to me what test results really meant.  One of my students wrote so poorly that it took three of us to decifer what she was saying.  She was only one of several students over the years who had trouble passing the English essay that Wayne required for graduation.  It was not long before the lab staff decided to switch to all multiple choice exams.  From what I see on many blogs, command of the English language, in terms of writing at least, is deplorable.

Way back when I started college in 1964, I was told by my counselor that only 25% of my entering class would graduate.  We had 40 students that year.  Four years later, only 13 of us graduated with our BS degrees in Medical Technology.  After several more years it seemed the University decided the curriculum was too difficult and they changed the program to make it easier.  Wow, now we can graduate more students and send them off into the work force.  Think about that next time you have to have lab work done.

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