The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

Got a tip? Have something you need to tell us? Contact us

Loading Recent Classifieds...

University exit exams under consideration

With one university-wide exit exam already in place-the upper-division writing proficiency exam-the highest levels of government are discussing ways to improve academic assessment, which may include more exit exams for universities such as CSUN.

Federal government officials have discussed the ways to improve the nation’s universities. These improvements can include preparing graduating students for the job market of the 21st century and making universities progress in the ways with which they assess their students, a report released by the Secretary of Education’s Commission on the Future of Higher Education stated.

Trying to improve the ways universities assess their students allows for the possibility of college exit exams for schools such as CSUN.

“There has been some talk of doing national exams,” said Harry Hellenbrand, university provost and vice president of academic affairs at CSUN.

The federal government is trying to gain the ability to check on universities to see how well the students are learning, Hellenbrand said. The government’s method of checking may be the utilization of college exit exams.

“We do provide something that is a good,” Hellenbrand said. According to him, the good that CSUN provides is an education, the customers are the students, and just like in any other business there should be a way to make sure customers get that for which they pay. In this case, the academic assessment of students is a way to ensure that they are receiving the education expected.

These college exit exams make sense when looking at the progression of testing in the schools in this country, said Dave Ballard, professor and head of the California Faculty Association at CSUN.

Ballard said this is not the right direction for the country to go toward, however, because it encourages professors to teach to the test, instead of teaching all of the material students may need. He said students’ learning is of a lesser quality when schools teach to the test, but universities have to do this when students are forced to take exit exams.

When the issue of university assessment comes up, Hellenbrand said the government’s attitude is, “You either do it yourself, or we’ll do it.”

CSUN’s music department assesses their students in different ways, and they don’t involve written exit exams, like the government has the potential to enforce.

The music program at CSUN requires music majors to undergo specific programs in order to graduate. These programs can include private lessons, evaluations every semester, recitals, and presentations to faculty committees.

Katherine Baker, CSUN music professor, said these ways of assessment and evaluation which the music department employs are better than using written exams to see how much a music student has learned.

More to Discover