12 October 2005

Knew it'd happen sometime..

So.. I somehow managed to mess up Birch while knitting in the car this morning on the way to work. I think I fixed whatever the problem was, but I was so frustrated with how long and putzy it was to fix that I put it down and didn't want to go back to it for the Stitch'n'Bitch over lunch. *sigh* I'll take a look again tonight and hopefully it will already all be fixed and not require anymore intervention on my part. It was going so *well*, too... I've decreased down to half the number of cast on stitches, which, given that it's a triangle shawl that started on and edge and not a point, means (at least if my geometry is right) that I'm about 3/4th of the way finished. So. Close.

And since it's got me in a cranky mood, can someone explain to me why people try to sell "hand beaded stitch markers" for $12-$15 for a set of 4? I mean.. well.. maybe it's just me, but a stitch marker is a tool. Tools don't have to be pretty - it' s not going to be incorporated into my final garment like a button or something, it's just something I'm using as a place holder. So paying $15 for *four*, when I tend to use them in higher quantity as a general rule (Aran sweaters, to mark every few pattern repeats in lace patterns, etc.) seems.. a waste. I mean.. am I missing something?

(Yes, yes, I understand that hand crafted items are often more expensive.. I'm questioning why anyone would bother to make hand crafted stitch markers, I guess. Seems unnecessary and possible annoying. I mean, if I'd used beaded stitch markers to mark every 50 stitches in Birch, I'd have spent way too much time untangling the little dangly bead bits from the fabric to make them any kind of asset.)

On a completely different topic.. does anyone have any suggestions for commonly used (and therefore generally "acceptable") outcome measures for transfer students? We seem to be incapable of defining outcome measures that are suitably comparable to outcome measures used for new freshmen (graduation rate, first year GPA, time-to-degree, etc.). I'm guessing that the lack of inclusion of outcome measures for transfer students on the larger national surveys points to their general absence, but it just seems like that can't be the case. *SO* many students transfer at some point in their undergrad careers that it seems patently irresponsible to not measure outcomes for them. *sigh* But then.. well.. a lot of higher education common practice lately has struck me as patently irresponsible (like the similar lack of learning outcomes measures for higher ed - we know they jumped through the hoops, but not if they learned anything in the process).


At least we seem to have identified what's been causing Jali to be so itchy lately. We're about 95% sure it's a food allergy. We recently switched her to Beneful, which seems to have something in it that she's allergic to. So back to Pedigree we go. (The switch wasn't really for any defined purpose other than a latent feeling of guilt that she must get bored eating the same food day after day, month after month, year after year. Pedigree is all just little brown nuggets. Beneful is fun shapes and multiple colors and ostensibly different flavors. Sort of like the difference between Lucky Charms and Cheerios. I mean, wouldn't you get bored if all you ate, for every meal of your life, was Cheerios?)


mamacate said...

Stitch markers? I rarely use them but I like 'em pretty. But not $3 apiece pretty. Sheesh. Not on Birch though. I can scarcely imagine. Ugh.

Transfers? Being here in this small elite liberal arts college world, as I am, we probably have different expectations in terms of outcome measures. But basically, we pretend they don't exist. Actually, we separate traditional transfers from non-trad students, which I'm not sure would make sense at a university. Some assessment happens with the non-trad students, but the ns are so small with the traditional transfers, we frankly don't bother. They never get looked at in terms of grad rate, and they get included in the senior class with which they graduate for everything else.

I think the poor commitment to higher ed outcomes assessment is because it's so hard to know what to measure. Sure, graduation rate, but what about when the vast majority of your transfer-outs complete a bachelor's? Often at a more selective institution? GPA? Can you say "grade inflation?" Job after graduation? Grad school admission? What is success? Or do we measure something soft like a self-assessment of one's life being "on track," which, aside from the vagaries of self-assessments, is subject to lousy response rates and keeping track of grads. You came in for pre-med and left an art historian? Failure or epiphany? Depends on the person. GRE/LSAT/MCAT scores? What, you're only measuring your population going on to an advanced degree? And then what's the comparison group? And they don't all take the tests in anywhere near the same year past graduation. Heck, many take the test before graduating. The mind boggles. Next Monday I'll be boggling a committee of VPs with this very topic. FUN!

I think, at least in the liberal arts world, no one has really articulated what we're doing beyond creating (enhancing) thoughtful, educated, critical thinkers. That's a damn hard thing to measure. Plumbing school is a lot easier. How many licensed plumbers came out of your program? Maybe we should all take up plumbing...

Teej said...

Plumbing school is a lot easier. How many licensed plumbers came out of your program? Maybe we should all take up plumbing...

{tongue in cheek}

Ah, see, but then you get into questions of quality - just because one is a licensed plumber doesn't mean one is a good plumber. Maybe the licensure requirements are just a rubber stamp after you've completed so many hours of coursework/internship/whatnot. Or maybe the licensure exam is full of theoretical concepts but very little practical application of plumbing.

And then you get into all kinds of other things completely unrelated to knowing the difference between copper tubing and PVC. Like people skills and scheduling maintenance and emergency availability and how to choose your wardrobe.

*innocent smile*
{/tongue in cheek}

mamacate said...

What? Are you saying that "plumbers butt" pants selection is not a part of the curriculum? I would posit that there is a measureable co-curricular educational effect that we should probably model and replicate in other programs--the widespread outcome of hangy-downy-pants-with-toolbelt is quite clear!

Now, how to apply this to a four-year curriculum? Perhaps we should consider studying the "manic panic" hair effect?