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Tom West
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While signalling is no doubt important, I think its influence on undergraduates is oversold. Unless students are a great deal more aware (and watching my sons enter into university gives me no reason to believe so), selection tends to be based on degree requirements, interest, and aspiration. However, I'd agree that my experience was that there was next to no correlation between "cost of providing the course" and the "worth of the course to me on any given metric". And lastly as with regards human capital formation - I believe that if you tested me a few years out of school, most my knowledge was either seemingly useless or forgotten. Yet being able to use the "useless" information to quickly learn relevant material, or being able remember what I've "forgotten" have both proven themselves invaluable over a 30 year career, especially every time my career has taken a right turn, and I've theoretically started from ground zero.
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I'm confused. Isn't he supersaurus implicitly agreeing with you?
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