Thursday, 25 October 2007

Threshold concept

Hi David and everyone.

David you are welcome. Your point about relating this threshold concept to university hierarchies is interesting. Since we seemed to hold that the threshold is the gate way rather than the end, it appears that there may be, if you like, higher levels of threshold. If this is so, could it then be that though universities might attract students with higher aspiration levels, that their thresholds within the subjects they offer might actually be higher? As such it is inherently difficult, as we also observed, to rank universities by any sort of quality criteria, except of course on their ability to attract higher aspiring students.

Perhaps it may be the case of having to recognise different societal roles played by universities, with none being less important. And eventually aiming for uiversities to balance the inherent tension and thus play various roles simultaenously. For instance encouraging wider participation by all ability/aspiration levels while also encouraging high achievement / excellence.

This all falls back on the political debate about high schools choosing by ability or by pay power. It is a difficult task coupling capitalism and socialism.

On another note, i think the threshold concept is also useful from another angle i.e. one can begin to conceptualise, not that we don't already know that, the aim of learning to be to help students cross the important thresholds in our subjects. Thus in the context of HE, it comes into play in identifying and focusing on these thresholds in our delivery rather than say 'completing the syllabus' or 'finsihing our slides'. What do you guys think of it?

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