The Bowdoin Project: Bowdoin Project’s methods flawed
The objectivity and effectiveness of The Bowdoin Project produced by the National Association of Scholars (NAS) should be determined by assessing the methods by which the authors arrived at their conclusions. Such a determination has not yet been made by most commentators.
Yet, an analysis of these methods reveals the severe limitations of the report. Peter Wood and Michael Toscano, the authors of the report, only relied on internal documents and make no in-depth inquiry of current educational content to determine what Bowdoin teaches. These major weaknesses neutralize the report’s usefulness.
The most serious weakness is revealed in a preliminary document, not included in the final report, which explains that the authors’ information is based entirely on internal Bowdoin documents. While Wood and Toscano reviewed a substantial amount of printed material and produced a total of over 400 pages, they did not broadly review course syllabi, reading lists and assignments. They made comments about first-year seminars without an in-depth understanding of the options.