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OCR for page 217
Minority Statement The inclusion of several different and independent possible mea- sures reflecting the quality of graduate education in this report seems to us a substantial addition and a significant improvement to previous such studies. However, we are concerned with the possibility that there are perhaps too many measures, some of which have little or no bearing on the objectives of the present study. In particular, mea- sures 06 and 07 (on the employment plans of graduates) are not informa- tive, have little or nothing to do with the quality of the program, and yield numbers that are not very dependable. from data in the NRC's Survey of Earned Doctorates. Both measures come Measure 06, the fraction of FY1975-79 program graduates with definite employment or study plans at time of doctorate, is vague because the "time of doctor- ate" may vary considerably from the time of year when, say, academic appointments are offered--and this in turn can vary substantially among institutions. This measure may be associated with the prosper- ity of the program, but its connection with quality is tenuous. Mea- sure 07, the fraction of FY1975-79 program graduates planning to take positions in Ph.D.-granting universities, is even more nebulous. What is meant by "planning"? How firm are those plans? {We can't know; all there is is a check somewhere on a questionnaire.) What about the variation in quality among different Ph.D.-granting universities. It can be considerable, and such considerable differences are precisely those the whole study is attempting to measure. Such data obscure the differences. Further, measure 07 betrays the inherent bias of the present study and previous ones in that the "program graduates planning to take positions in Ph.D.-granting universities" is tacitly offered as a measure of the "goodness" of the program. In the late 1970's and 1980's nothing can be farther from the truth. The kindest evaluation of measures 06 and 07 is that they are irrelevant. These two measures do not result from careful plans made by the committee for this study in order to find other useful new measures. Such plans were considered, but for various good reasons could not be carried out. These two particular measures just happen to be avail- able in the vast data collected and recorded (but not critically 217

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218 evaluated) over the years by the Commission on Human Resources of the National Research Council. Their inclusion in this report might be explained by bureaucratic inertia, but this inclusion adds nothing to the report. SAUNDERS MAC LANE C. K. N. PATEL ERNEST S. KUH