Re: DSM: Diploma

From: Scott David Gray (
Date: Mon Dec 10 2001 - 19:48:02 EST


  I've given some thought to the question of giving a
"diploma" without an evaluation.

  Leaving aside the question of what the word "diploma"
means, I'm forced to ask myself what could possibly be the
value of a diploma which is _not_ an endorsement of the
holder given at the end of an evaluation.
  A diploma is not redeemable for cash or merchandise. A
diploma is not particularly tasty. A diploma has no
entertaining or novel reference information on it. The only
place where any person _claims_ to be able to use a diploma
is as a tool in proving her/his worth to people who don't
know him/her; sort of an official and institiutional letter
of reference.

  I can only come up with one answer. The point of a
diploma given without an evaluation is to perpetrate a
fraud; falsly presenting an individual who has not been
institutionally evaluated as a person who _has_ gone through
such an evaluation. Any document called a "diploma" is
designed to be perceived by others as an endorsement given
at the end of an evaluation.

  If a school feels the diploma has little/no real function
in society at large, than the school would do no damage by
refusing to offer a diploma -- leaving people who want a
diploma to seek it through a GED or equivalency.
  If a school feels that the diploma does serve a social
function and that it is legitimate to evaluate a student,
that school should bite the bullet and do what it claims to
the outside world that it does when it offers a diploma --
perform an evaluation.

  I suppose that a school may feel that the diploma does
serve a social function but that it is _NOT_ legitimate to
evaluate a diploma candidate. In which case, it seems to me
that perpetuating fraud on the rest of the community may be
(in the long run) more damaging to the school than either of
the alternatives; simply refusing to offer a diploma, or
offering one (and performing the requisite evaluation) but
leaving it as far outside the daily life of the school as
  It seems to me that being involved in fraud can discredit
a school if/when articles about the practice start to appear
in the local papers. It seems to me that it can hurt the
school community when/if "word gets out" and the school
starts to attract people who are _not_ interested in its
programme, but only in an easy diploma. It seems to me that
it discredits a school's claims to have an honest and open
internal community, when/if others recognize the
no-evaluation diploma for what it is -- a fraud that the
entire community perpetrates on the "outside" world.

--Scott David Gray
reply to:
Speak the truth, but leave immediately after.

-- Slovenian proverb ============================================================


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