Degree Qualifications Profile, Oregon Common Core- overview and concerns

Notes from Oregon Writing and English Advisory Committee (OWEAC) conversation about the Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP):

  • The Lumina Group is promoting the Degree Qualification Profile (DQP) as a tool for describing what learning behavior in a degree area looks like
  • 18 community colleges nation wide have applied for grants to implement the DQP
  • In some respects the DQP is less prescriptive than the Common Core Standards and as such may be less scary (i.e., it doesn’t lend itself as easily to prepackaged curricula and standardized tests)
  • Main concern regarding the DQP is that it does not include an analysis of a student’s socio-economic status (SES) and to be meaningful in a holistic way, the DQP must include an analysis of SES and must include something that attends to early literacy practices. In other words, it isn’t enough to say “this student doesn’t know how to write a complete sentence, so we will just teach them that and then the 5 paragraph essay and then the research paper….etc.” While we applaud the idea of meeting a student where he or she is at the moment, it oversimplifies a very complex educational process into something that is standardized for everyone without regard to the context of actual student lives. Was the student raised in a home with books? Was the student read to as a child? What kinds of literacy experiences has the student had in and out of school? What social and economic factors have played a role in shaping the student and that student’s ability to learn?
  • On page 3 of the DQP is a list of 5 descriptions of what the DQP will enable… in OWEAC we discussed that items 1, 2, and 4 on that list seem reasonable, but there is concern about items 3 and 5 (note that the list is not numbered on the document- these are my numbers). 3 and 5 raise concerns because they imply the DQP’s role in driving methodology  and taking what is a complex organism and turning it into a data set.
  • It may be useful to map the DQP onto the Common Core. Mapping it lets us articulate what we’re doing and how effective we are. Assessment and reporting should just be a mirror to what we’re already doing and how successful we are. These kinds of tools need to be used with a healthy understanding that the most complex proficiencies- that is the things we care about most (e.g., habits of mind), are extremely hard to articulate. By necessity, when they are reduced to state-able, assessable outcome statements- they lose those most complex and sophisticated elements
  • We do not endorse spreading the faulty belief that you can mediate years of literacy deficiency in one or two terms…the idea that in a term or two you can just “teach someone how to write and then they know forever”

Notes about the Common Core:
See: Common Core Fact Sheet includes information about assessment plans and
Oregon Department of Education info on Common Core

Information Literacy is woven throughout the Common Core Standards (this is good!!)

  • In a recent OEA article (I gave my copy to Natalie), it talks about Oregon taking the approach of focusing deeply on a few outcomes rather than shallowly on a plethora of outcomes…in the article they say Oregon wants to go an inch wide and a mile deep with the most import outcomes….and Information Literacy is very present with in that “inch” …so it deserves deep exploration and support within the Common Core Curriculum
  • So…very important talking point…do our representatives understand –
    • What information literacy is?
    • Which Common Core Standards are information literacy skills?
    • That information literacy is the purview of the library (i.e., that the library is not just “the temple of the book”)
    • That the library has curricular body and is actively engaged in scholarship around the teaching and learning of information literacy skills at all levels
    • While very pleased to see information literacy so prominent in the Common Core, concerns expressed at OWEAC include
      • Some of the standards seem very basic while others seem wildly optimistic
      • As above, the concern that socio-economic  status (SES) and literacy context aren’t attended to in a meaningful way
      • The role of the Common Core as an articulation document is useful, but not as a document driving methodology (i.e., value as a mapping and articulation tool, but should not be interpreted to mean let’s all teach to a standardized test)

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