An excerpt from Education Next executive editor Michael Horn’s new book
Michael B. Horn and Bob Moesta’s new book, Choosing College: How to Make Better Learning Decisions Throughout Your Life (Jossey-Bass, 2019, $25, 304 pages), aims to help students and parents make better decisions around postsecondary education by understanding the reasons they are seeking to enroll. It also offers advice to institutions on how to structure themselves better to optimize for student success. In this modified excerpt, Horn and Moesta describe why raising standards, being more rigorous, and moving to a mastery-based learning system would be a positive for colleges.
Raising standards may seem counterintuitive given our advice to schools to enable people to acknowledge where they are in life and not have to grandstand to gain acceptance. Schools must know their focus and strengths (and be honest about them) as well as their limitations.
What we mean is that schools should set clear standards for graduating and hold to them. We don’t mean only around academics, either. Students are not just functional beings, but emotional and social ones as well. If your program is designed to help people discover whom they are and what they want to do next, do not let them graduate until they have done that.