Thursday, March 02, 2006

Assessment is life changing?

Not sure I agree with Obi-care One's contention that assessment should be life changing. I can't think of any assessment in my life that has been that radical. Think the journey part of assessment is safer ground and therefore the assessment merely becomes a validation of the learning journey but in that moment of assessment it often invalidates the prior learning because if it has been a positive experience it is possibly unassessable in terms of a viable assessment instrument. I.e. can the assessment instrument actually measure what has been learnt? I know that somebody will come back with 'Well that depends on the quality of the assessment instrument' etc, etc. but in my experience the most valuable learning cannot necessarily measured. After all, we have virtually no idea how the brain works and therefore consciousness is effectively beyond our comprehension and therefore do we really understand learning? If we don't how can we measure it? This leads to questions of why we need to measure learning in the ways that we currently do. Reasonable assessment is undoubtedly desirable for a variety of reasons but a vast amount of it is just state control.......................................


  • This depends on how you view assessment BT, passing one's driving test is a form of assessment and for most people that is life changing.

    But I'm more interested in your theory that we have virtually no idea how the brain works. Freud describes the brain as having three parts the 1. conscious, 2. pre conscious and 3. unconscious

    In terms of learning, some of it will remain in 1. we will use it daily and we need that level of awareness of it. Other faclets will be stored in 2. it is available for recall reasonably easily but we don't need it daily. In 3. we have that bit of the brain which you are refering to BT - the unconscious. Interesting that this makes up two thirds of the organ, kind of validates your statement that we don't know how the brain works.

    OK what's the challenge for educators in terms of learning and assessing learning - to unlock the unconscious BECAUSE in here is stored our drivers, motivators, instincts and often a great deal of memory that we CHOOSE NOT to recall, but which has a profound effect on how we learn and thus how we should assess.

    In terms of your paranoia about state control - you should see a counsellor.

    By Blogger Karen, at 11:17 AM  

  • Learning is about development of identity (i.e. the core being that is fundamental to existence - not the 'image' or presentational identity). Therefore any assessment, assuming the learner receives feedback, has to be life changing - even if this change is not detected by the various concious bits of grey matter.

    By Blogger Jane, at 7:05 AM  

  • In my view the statement about assessmnet is upside down, the learning should be the life changing bit, the assessment is just to quantify the learning for someone elses validation. (Agreeing with BT). For the validation to be accurate, the assessment to must be responsive, and the method of assesment "aligned" to the delivery and learning. Should we not be more concerned with delivering our students a life changing learning experience, and taking the fuss out of over complicated assessment strategies. According to Knowles (Malcolm not Jayne!) adult learners are searching for these experiences of learning, having often identified there own learning needs. Personally the only thing I have learned when being assessment, is how not to balls it up again! My final thought is that if Assessment is billed as life changing , are we not puttintg a bit of pressure on our students?

    By Blogger Barry, at 3:16 AM  

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