Monday, November 28, 2011

GAO Trolls For-Profit Colleges

For work, I've been having to keep an eye out for reports from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) that relate to government contracting and procurement. But GAO  reports on a lot of interesting stuff, so while I wouldn't say I'm reading GAO reports for fun, I'm definitely reading a lot more of them.

GAO Report 12-150: For-Profit Schools
In For-Profit Schools: Experiences of Undercover Students Enrolled in Online Classes at Selected Colleges, GAO looked at 15 for-profit institutions that offered online classes, and found that 7 of the 15 didn't follow their own policies on plagiarism and substandard academic performance.

For example, at College 4, as part of a "Learning Strategies and Techniques" class for a 2-year associate business degree:
"For a written exam that required the student to submit detailed explanations to four questions, the student submitted photos of political figures and celebrities."
I picture an undercover GAO investigator/Redditor, trolling the assignment by sending advice animal pictures.

The student received a passing C-minus grade.

That's the most amusing tidbit I found. The report also looks at admission, financial aid, exit counseling and other practices at for-profit schools.

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