Continuing to think about Assessment

I went searching through my blog and really am surprised that so little of my thoughts on this topic have been put into HowDoUTeach!  But I do wind up doing a lot of talking about this with my faculty.

  1. Dog and Tail – too much of education today starts with the “test” and then works back from there to what should be taught.  We call this “teaching to the test” and it is misguided.  It is appropriate and necessary to think through before forming a lesson what ideas we are aiming at, and from there to deduce what content needs to be had to get us there, and what skills are necessary to handle the ideas well, but that is not the same as “teaching to the test.”
  2. Assessment must fit the lesson taught – if you are teaching content, test for content, but that should only be a portion of the lesson.  Ideas are “taught” by becoming embodied, and therefore assessed by their embodiment.  And skills are, well, skills or habits that are practiced and thus assessed by their right practice.
  3. “2” begs the question of assessing an idea.  What I am seeking in an idea is whether there is understanding leading to wisdom or not.  Is the student being changed by the idea?  This highlights the problem that leads to my final thought for today…
  4. Not all assessment, and frankly not the best assessment, can be given a number in the end.  This is why the best educational institutions of the past resisted moving to numeric assessment and kept the older and more honest “letter” system of the A, B, C, F type of thing.

Now I can hear all the jeers and questions coming.  What about college entrance?  This is so far removed from modern practice that it would not correlate to those moving in and out of other systems of assessment.  This is way too subjective.  I get all that, and have my answers to each, but it would require more time so thus another day’s blog.



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