The Discussion About AHELO

Since the conception of the AHELO process there is a discussion about the feasibility of such an endeavour – are there comparable targets in HE which could be compared internationally, per field? This discussion gained more traction in recent weeks:

First, Philip Altbach pronounced the AHELO project dead and done in his contribution for University World News.

And now, the American Council on Education and Universities Canada https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2015/06/05/objections-oecds-ahelo reiterated their scepticism about the project.

Even if you concede that the methodology needs improvement – I am not sure that anyone can argue that a) HE teaches competences and b) that those competencies need to be assessed. And maybe we would all agree that it would be good if this assessment is comparable internationally? Even more importantly, with the also very critically received PISA and PIAAC studies (most recently the “Skills” study) the OECD showed already how helpful this kind of data can be – not as a means to produce “last answers” but in order to follow-up on questions we have about what works how in education.

And if we follow Alex Usher’s argument, we might have to ask ourselves if the resistance against AHELO is higher not because the methodology is so much less viable, but because the resisting organisations are much better organised…

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