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 Response Page - Shupe / Daly  Interview -      

These comments are responses to the questions listed below,
which were generated in regard to the
David Shupe / Peter Daly Interview of


David Shupe, designer of learning assessment management system eLumen, St. Paul, MN, and Peter Daly, research director, Carrington College, Sacramento, CA, describe how teaching, learning and grading change when students are measured on specific outcomes instead of earned points. A school using this approach may eventually enable competency-based progression, the guests argued, in addition to or in place of course credits-based progression.

For the complete interview summary see:

Response Summary:  Readers have been asked to rate, on a scale of (0) most disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) most agreement, the following points discussed by Shupe and Daly. Average response ratings shown below are simply the mean of all readers’ zero-to-ten responses to the ideas proposed and should not be considered an accurate reflection of a scientifically structured poll.

1. Letter grades not sufficient.   (8.3 average response) Job seekers' letter grades on college transcripts are not sufficient for employers who need more evidence of applicants' specific competencies.

2. Measurement deficient. (7.8 average response) Post-secondary schools have not measured student learning in sufficient detail.

3. Focus on outcomes. (8.2 average response) Post-secondary schools should move to identifying and measuring various student-learning outcomes, for each course.

4. Corrective action possible. (7.9 average response) With such a system in place, weaknesses in student learning in specific areas can be corrected well before the end of a


5. Teachers will comply. (5.3 average response) Teachers will agree to measure and report specific learning outcomes by each student.

6. New system unnecessary. (4.3 average response) The problem of identifying student performance is not so serious as to require a new system to measure outcomes.


Response Distribution:

Strongly disagree

Moderately disagree


Moderately agree

Strongly agree

Total Responses

1. Letter grades not sufficient. 







2. Measurement deficient.







3. Focus on outcomes.







4. Corrective action possible.







5. Teachers will comply.







6. New system unnecessary.







Individual Responses:

Anonymous   (10)  (7.5)  (10)  (10)  (7.5)  (7.5)

Anonymous   (5)  (7.5)  (10)  (7.5)  (2.5)  (5)

4. Corrective action possible. Only if teachers/administrators fully embrace the outcome-based data and act on it.

5. Teachers will comply. I anticipate teacher reluctance to embrace outcome-based scoring, as outlined in the discussion summary from Civic Caucus

Chris Brazelton  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (5)  (2.5)

1. Letter grades not sufficient.   I once had an employer who promoted a colleague in a sales position after he had received a college degree.  He said at the time he didn't care if it was a degree in botany, it showed that he was able to complete college.  And that was about all it did show.  With this technology, now a potential employer can base decisions on competencies that are useful on the job.

3. Focus on outcomes. I can see this moving toward grade schools and high schools eventually, not only to measure learning, but aptitude and talent.

4. Corrective action possible. Assuming the teacher is dedicated to doing so.

5. Teachers will comply. This question is not worded very well.

Don Anderson  (10)  (10)  (7.5)  (10)  (5)  (2.5)

Lyle Wright  (7.5)  (10)  (7.5)  (10)  (2.5)  (2.5)

W. D. (Bill) Hamm  (0)  (0)  (0)  (0)  (5)  (10)

1. Letter grades not sufficient.   More outcome-based education nonsense. This stupidity has ruined our K-12 system by limiting learning to what employers want rather than what students need. Now you want to bring that same (nonsense) to our colleges. High quality education is student-based not corporate-based because student-based teaches them a broader base.

2. Measurement deficient. That is more outcome-based Pavlovian (nonsense).

3. Focus on outcomes. The last thing we need are college grads being dumbed down for the benefit of giant corporations who are deathly afraid of students’ knowing enough to be whistle-blowers. Small business needs just the opposite, more knowledge and a broader base.

4. Corrective action possible. That same lie has made our K-12 system the worst in our education history. We need higher quality, more inclusive, student-based education, not this school-to-work (curriculum) that has led to (the need for) remedial training to fix what K-12 failed to do.

5. Teachers will comply. They will do whatever they are told to do.

6. New system unnecessary. Leave the liberal arts based education alone.

Dave Broden  (7.5)  (5)  (10)  (2.5)  (2.5)  (2.5)

1. Letter grades not sufficient.   The need to match capability and knowledge to the workplace is becoming increasingly a factor in selection of workers in both the tech jobs and in professional positions. Letter grades alone may not always measure a person’s fit to the skills and application required. Finding a way or ways to assess capability of job candidates will benefit both the employer and those seeking work. A hybrid system may have some very important factors.

2. Measurement deficient. Rather than state that “post secondary schools have not measured student learning in sufficient detail” consider changing the (statement) to “post secondary schools must now seek to find methods that measure the readiness of an student for specific job conditions.” This is now emerging as an area of concern, not a failure of the past or current (failure), but (something to) view as an opportunity.

3. Focus on outcomes. I agree that this should be a goal. Now the challenge must be: what is the metric for measure and how will it be defined, applied and used? I suggest use of a hybrid system of both grades and outcomes or capability metrics.

4. Corrective action possible. Finding a weakness and correcting the weakness may not be easy or realistic. What is a weakness for one job situation may not be a weakness for another-- how do we generalize this situation?

5. Teachers will comply. Establishing a meaningful standard to be applied by many at many different locations and in various courses will be a very difficult task that will require specific application-related considerations.

6. New system unnecessary. Recognizing the need to measure student readiness for applying education in the workplace, whether a “votech” role or a professional role, is an very appropriate consideration to address and should be a focus of on-going education improvements.

Scott Halstead  (7.5)  (7.5)  (7.5)  (7.5)  (2.5)  (2.5)

4. Corrective action possible. What will be the additional cost, time and labor of the remedial instruction and testing?

5. Teachers will comply. The teaching profession may have provided excellent instruction.  Is it their responsibility if students don't make an adequate effort, and who will (be) held accountable?

6. New system unnecessary. Give the new approach the opportunity to work out the flaws and time for a proper evaluation.

Al Quie  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (4)  (0)

Wayne Jennings  (10)  (9)  (6)  (8)  (8)  (2)

This is a missing link in education. I don’t know the effort required of teachers to implement it, but competency education (is) a program of this nature. However, I don’t necessarily equate success at achieving course outcomes with achieving competencies needed for careers or life. They might but it doesn’t follow for many courses.

Chuck Lutz   (7)  (8)  (9)  (8)  (7)  (2)

Bright Dornblaser  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)

The UMN graduate program in Health Care Management and Policy does this.  Its Accreditation Commission requires it, but the program started this as beta for the requirement's consideration.

Robert J. Brown  (10)  (10)  (10)  (10)  (5)  (2 

Tom Swain  (9)  (7)  (8)  (5)  (5)  (2)

George Pillsbury  (10)  (8)  (10)  (8)  (8)  (10)

Shirley Heaton  (10)  (5)  (5)  (10)  (5)  (5)

Not being in the educational profession, I remained neutral on those questions in areas where I feel the pros know better. But the first question I have experienced in my role of hiring staff. I am amazed at those who manage to look good on paper but prove to be terrible in practice. Hopefully the powers that be will see great benefits in this ‘new’ approach.



The Civic Caucus   is a non-partisan, tax-exempt educational organization.   The Core participants include persons of varying political persuasions, reflecting years of leadership in politics and business. Click here  to see a short personal background of each.

   Verne C. Johnson, chair;  David Broden, Charles Clay,  Bill Frenzel, Paul Gilje,  Jim Hetland,  Marina Lyon,
Joe Mansky,  John Mooty,  Jim Olson,  and  Wayne Popham 

The Civic Caucus, 01-01-2008
8301 Creekside Circle #920,   Bloomington, MN 55437.
Verne C. Johnson, chair, 952-835-4549,       Paul A. Gilje, coordinator, 952-890-5220.

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