Notes in the Margins: Placement tests, mergers and scrutiny of lenders

The idea of ‘impact’ has been hijacked: We are in danger of suffocation by the ‘impact agenda’ and risk losing sight of the original value of research. Negative findings and research failures are essential parts in the journey to increasing academic knowledge.  (LSE / Impact of Social Sciences)

IBM sees students’ Facebook time as more than waste of time IBM recently started working with San Jose State students to come up with ways the technology giant could use its internal systems to better interact with employees and the public. About 100 graduate students and undergraduates in the fall analyzed IBM’s social-business tools, learned how to use them and thought of ways they could be improved. (Mercury News)

Georgia regents OK college mergers Other states, such as Maryland and Louisiana, have tried merging public colleges but backed off. As a result, Georgia’s mergers have received national attention, and there are calls for leaders in Alabama and other states to monitor the regents’ steps. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

College placement and the “illusion of validity” College placement tests – which have been shown to have little or no predictive validity – are consistently used in high stakes ways in our nation’s community colleges.  Entering students are often unaware that these assessments even exist, which puts them at a defecit when they sit to take the test.  This wouldn’t be so damaging if colleges considered other measures of “college readiness” when making their placement decision.  But in most cases they don’t. (A Tangled Bank)

Some Lenders to Students Face Greater U.S. Scrutiny The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is taking an in-depth look at some private companies offering loans because of their high default rates. (The New York Times)