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OCR for page 213
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 the pre- vious 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. Both measures come from data in the NRC's Survey of Earned Doctorates. Measure 06, the frac- tion of FY1975-79 program graduates with definite employment or study plans at time of doctorate, is vague because the "time of doctorate" may vary considerably from the time of year when, say, academic ap- pointments are offered--and this in,turn can vary substantially among institutions. This measure may be associated with the prosperity of the program, but its connection with quality is tenuous. Measure 07, the fraction of FY1975-79 program graduates planning to take positions in Ph.D.-arantino universities is even more nebulous. What is meant J - _ - - ~ _ , by 'iplanningn? 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 differ- ences. 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 mea- sure of the "goodness" of the program. nothing can be farther from the truth. sures 06 and 07 is that they are irrelevant. In the late 1970's and 1980's The kindest evaluation of mea- 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 available in the vast data collected and recorded (but not critically evaluated) over the years by the Commission on Human Resources of the National Re- 213

OCR for page 213
214 search 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. PATE L ERNEST S. KUH