Michael Eleey: Thank you very much, Sir Graeme. I think that
some of that background on the Open University will be interesting
context for our later discussion about the Western Governors University
Initiative. Yesterday afternoon a couple of people made reference
to an interesting possibility, and that is the potential segregation
of the research teaching and certification roles of the university.
Our next speaker comes to us from ETS, so it'll perhaps be interesting
in the day's discussion to pursue that theme a bit. Alice Irby
first came to ETS in 1962, an assistant program director in the
College Board program. From '72 to '78 she served as Vice President
for Student Services at Rutgers University, thereafter returning
to ETS. She served ETS as Vice President for Field Services,
with responsibility for government relations; contract work with
state agencies, universities, and professional associations; domestic
and international marketing; and technical assistance program
evaluation and consulting services. Subsequently, she directed
ETS's Center for Occupational and Professional Assessment, overseeing
assessment, training, and guidance projects and services in the
workplace, military, and professional and adult education environments.
She is now President of The Chauncy Group International, a wholly
owned subsidiary of Educational Testing Service. She will describe
for us today the business model and the role of technology underlying
this global venture in certification and career development services.
Alice Irby: Thank you, Mike. Well, as Mike said, I don't
come from a University. I've spent some time in several during
my career, but I come to you today from sort of the outsider's
perspective. The Chauncy Group is named for the founder of the
Educational Testing Service, Henry Chauncy, and we specialize
in the assessment and credentialing of people entering professions
and increasingly in the workplace. So I'll try to give the discussion
that perspective today.
I think it's fair to say that we are in the middle of a revolution.
I don't know whether the historians will count it as such or
not, but since I'm not a historian, I can say that I think we
are. And the technological revolution is certainly affecting
the economic and political relations among nations; the social,
business, and professional exchanges among individuals; and it's
bringing about shifts in the labor force and the economy. Just
a point or two on the labor force affects as they pertain to wages
and skills in education.
As all of us know, global competitiveness has lead to the development
of high performance work systems and teams, and of course they
depend on our technology. But still, only about two percent of
the capital investment per year is in computer equipment and technology,
though that percentage is growing very fast and has doubled in
the last several years. Clearly workers, then, in order to be
successful in this new economy, need three or four kinds of educational
skill development. First it is generally conceded that just about
everybody now needs some kind of education beyond high school.
They also, though, need preparation and a specialty or occupation,
and they need formal and informal training on the job, which is
becoming increasingly significant. And last but not least: access
to and use of technology. Strangely, the economic returns of
a college education are going down measured in time of lifetime
income in relation to the cost, but the economic cost of not going
to school beyond high school is increasing rapidly. Tony Carnavelli,
one of my colleagues at ETS, is a labor economist, and he is
known for this message: there is only one course of action more
costly than going to college, and that's not going to college.
So as with any revolution, I think there are salutary affects
on the one hand, but excessives and consequences on the other,
and those affect these young students and workers and adults.
There are also winners and losers, and I think one of the questions
that has come up yesterday and will come up today is to what extent
will higher education be a winner or loser. I happen to think
that higher education is eminently adaptable, however inefficient,
but we'll be able to be the major player going forward. I think
in the past it's been assumed that the academy controlled what
is learned, how that learning takes place, how education is delivered,
and controls the certification of that learning. In a simpler
time, we can think of it in terms of control of the content, what
is taught, how and where it's delivered, and what is the credential
of that achievement. Who certifies it? I think what' changing
is that now there are more players and the roles are becoming
confused, and the stage is getting crowded. I'm going to come
back to that.
One person's view of the need to change in higher education is
described here. The skills that we need will evolve and change.
We can no longer operate a system based on the principle that
education is like a dose of chickenpox which is caught early in
life and never recurs. We must build a system that allows people
to move in and out of jobs, in and out of full-time education or
training much more easily. So clearly we need not a one-shot,
sustaining vaccine, but something close to a megavitamin every
day to be sure to keep our minds fresh and to insure against unemployment
or disease and to demonstrate fitness in terms of our competence.
I'd like to go back to the second point in the learning process
because I want to make a distinction between emphasis on delivery
and emphasis on content and certification. I happen to think
that the delivery mechanism channels are really overshadowing
the other two things that I mentioned: the content and the credentialling.
But that's clearly where the hype is--the Bill Gates techies,
the software and hardware wizards, and the communications giants,
as well as the small fries. And I think all too often the focus
is on the medium, often more than the message, and therein lies
some of the risk, I think, for those of you in the academy that
have set the standard in the past. I'd like to describe a major
development in my own field as illustrative of that.
One of the major reasons for establishing the Chauncy Group was
to enable us to focus on credentialling with the use of technology
and to combine assessment or testing with training and with the
use of technology. So we are, I think, one of the leaders in
the development of computer based tests. Those tests are delivered
certainly all over this country and increasingly all over the
world. We have faced, in doing that, some of the same things
that came up in the discussion yesterday. There are huge infrastructure
costs in doing that. You have to find facilities, and now I'm
talking about what we call high stakes tests or licensing exams.
Those are the ones required by regulatory authorities of one
kind or another. So the high stakes nature of the test requires
one to make sure that the environment is very secure. So these
tests are delivered through proctored testing sights, and that
means finding buildings, equipping them, developing communications
systems, etc. The one that is--but at the same time, it's been
demonstrated to be quite worthwhile to do that in terms of the
professional associations and the candidates that take advantage
of that. So let me point out some of the advantages.
The big change is that, when you move away from paper and pencil
exams and move to computer-based exams that can be delivered in
these centers, you make possible the individualization of the
certification. Every candidate can get a somewhat different test.
The schedule can be at the candidate's convenience. The test
can occur every day of the year if the center is opened. It can
also occur in any country in the world. The results can be very
rapid. As a matter of fact, they can be on site. Therefore,
it's a big advantage to the candidates because there's a much
shorter time to their employment. In the past people sitting
for the medical exam or the architect's exams or other exams had
to wait weeks and weeks before they knew whether they were licensed
The developments in terms of cognitive science and psychometrics
enable us to shorten those tests considerably. The nurses exam,
for example, used to be a two-day exam. That's now a five hour
exam. The average candidates finish that exam in two and a half
hours. And finally there's a considerable improvement in security.
What has made this possible though is not just the delivery technology;
what's made it possible is the advance in the psychometric modeling
that is not possible. However, it is possible to just put traditional
exams on a computer, and with the emphasis on delivery, that is
also what is happening. It's very easy to simply take, as someone
said earlier, you take what you've been using in the classroom
and throw it on the Internet. It's also easier to take a multiple
choice test and throw it on a computer based network environment.
What is much tougher is to try to change the nature of the testing
or the nature of the credential itself, and there's been some
headway made in that area.
I was talking with one of our colleagues here from MIT who happens
to be an architect. There's a new examination for the licensure
of architects in this country, and it was just made operational
last February. It moves well beyond multiple choice testing into
simulations of professional practice, and those simulations are
in effect case studies of vignettes that are developed out of
architects' files. The artificial intelligence algorithms in
that model permit the on-site scoring of those simulations. That's
an example of where the advances in technology and the advances
in psychometrics can come together to make a significant improvement
in the ways in which we can credential people for occupations.
However, because of the expense in doing that, frequently the
move to computer based testing focuses largely on the delivery.
That's also partly because it's very expensive. Someone mentioned
yesterday one of the problems is not so much in what is possible,
but the time it takes, the authoring tools. It took five years
to develop that architects exam, none of that having to do with
whether we could deliver it in a testing center. All of it having
to do with the scoring algorithms. We had to write our own authoring
tools to begin with. So we need to be able to condense that time.
One of the big advances we look to is being able to develop those
kinds of programs in a year rather than five years, and we're
seeing some improvement there.
With all this focus on delivery, we see all kinds of companies
cropping up to serve the educational function and the assessment
function. You've talked most of yesterday and today about the
universities and the university roles, but I want to mention some
of the other players. You've probably heard of some of these,
and you'll hear a lot about the second one. There is a new organization,
a new company, called Caliber. It's been organized by Sylvan
Learning Systems and MCI technologies. They will actually have
50 to 100 sites around the country in the next year. They will
have production facilities in at least one or two places in the
country. I believe they are either talking with or have talked
with the people at Johns Hopkins about providing that production
facility. If that doesn't work out, they will create their own.
They will be able to provide training in those centers, distance
education. They will have video, instantaneous feedback, and
they will be able to test for certification. It's an ambitious
I won't mention or talk about the Western Governors Association
Virtual University because that's next on our program. There's
another much smaller company named Randomex. They are mainly
a software company in distance learning and education and not
so much in assessment. They offer tailored delivery and they
focus on large corporations, some of the Fortune 1,000 corporations.
Another company that just came into being--it's behind the scenes.
It's really called Princeton Learning Systems, but they have
named this particular aspect of their work Financial Services
University. They have started with a professional development
program for the National Association of Securities Dealers.
The next one is the Interactive Health Network. That is an organization
that provides software, combining training and certification for
long-term health providers. It was a small company. They've
just been acquired by a large company that's in the long-term
healthcare field. There's a Philadelphia organization SCT that
is beginning, and SCT provides a lot of institutional services
to universities, all kinds of support services in the academic
arena, and they're beginning new Internet services. And finally
the Gartner Group, and someone I think is here from the Gartner
Group, so I won't dwell on that either. But these networks permit
computer-based training, records management, cataloguing, scheduling,
assessment, tracking credits to degrees, matches with jobs, Internet
or intranet delivery, training assessment, and records management.
It used to be that the same people who controlled the delivery
also controlled the content and the credentialing: the faculty,
the instructors, and the teachers. But now the question is what
happens when the course is a piece of software and not a professor
and not a library list? Or the instructor or examiner is not
face to face with the learner? Or that you can't be sure that
the person doing the work is the one registered for the course?
Or that you need to insure the knowledge and skills outcomes,
but there's been no time in class and no face to face communication?
We know that these learners are not in our typical institutions.
They're in the workplace, they're in between jobs and careers,
they're in some continuing education programs, and they're in
new kinds of college degree programs. Someone made reference
earlier to the size of the market. In 1995 American business
spent 51 billion dollars to train workers. The continuing education
market is estimated to be about the same size. Now, I'm sure
there's some overlap between those numbers. They're not mutually
exclusive. But never the less, the market is quite substantial.
That means or that in part is the result of what I think of as
the new employment contract.
I mentioned earlier the effects of the economy and the labor
force in terms of the changes having to do in part with technology.
I think the new contract, the new employment contract, is something
like this: "We will help you grow and develop, we will
provide you with opportunities to learn, to be involved, to practice
new skills, to have responsibility, to be respected and valued,
and to be rewarded and recognized for your contribution. In return,
we seek your commitment to our company's mission," for this
is what's key I think. "We cannot guarantee what is going
to happen in the future, but if it doesn't work out, you will
leave here a more talented, responsible, self-confident, and employable
person. In other words, we can't promise you employment for life.
We can't give you the kind of tenure that we have in the past.
At best, we can try to make you employable." I think that's
what a lot of companies are saying to their employees now.
That means that the focus is on skills and expertise and a mobile
labor force and a changing labor market. The company and the
employer needs to know that the training they offer these workers
really works, and the employee or the job seeker needs to be able
to demonstrate competence. And seat time or certificate of attendance
no longer suffices. There is a need to assure continued competence.
Everybody's getting into the act, not just the universities.
Although I do want to mention one university program that came
to my attention when I was reading about some of these things.
That's one that MIT has developed. MIT has a program now which
is a Master of Science in Efficiency in Management in their System
Design and Management Program. It's a Master's Degree. It takes
24 months. It's one month in residence, one month at the beginning,
four and a half months at the end, plus some multi-day business
trips and visits. The thing that I found interesting is that
the tuition for full-time degree students, presumably in residence,
is $42,000. The tuition for part-time, distance learning students
There's also an effort underway at the University of Michigan--I
see some chuckles around there-at the University of Michigan in
conjunction with the auto manufacturers. The auto manufacturers
are interested in making sure that their--O.K. close to time--that
their workers are certified in certain skills across the world.
Some of the others that are involved in this are professional
associations, American Production and Inventory Control Society,
National Council of Architecture Registration Board, the Dental
Interactive Simulations Corporation--this is a consortium of dental
groups, the National Association of Securities Dealers, and a
number of medical groups. There are also training companies that
are doing computer-based training and are now coming together
with assessment companies to put the packet of training and assessment
Let me end with what I think is one of the core issues having
to do with all of these different kinds of delivery and education.
Reference has been made to a lot of the junk or the issue of
standards. I think as we go forward, not just in terms of what
universities provide, but what these professional associations
or companies or other learning companies might provide. The core
of the matter to me, for the traditional providers as well as
the new providers, is the issue of access versus authority. The
democratization of access in this revolution can be extremely
beneficial, but the democratization of authority or the spread
of information, unqualified or disconnected from expertise or
expert judgment, I think can be very dangerous. The question
really becomes what becomes of the standards, what constitutes
expertise, what results when there is no generally accepted authority,
and what is the outcome when any information or conversation over
the wires passes for being as authentic and as authoritative as
any other? Thank you.