assessment.news Learning's Opportunity For Reckoning
Breaking News continually points to existential impacts, personally and collectively, that encourage, even demand, reflection and adaptation. These include the unknowns of AI-driven industry and communication, bewildering pandemic and climate crises, unprecedented polarization and discord, and levels of violence and human deprivation unbecoming to 21st century civilization.
Street demonstrations, articles, blogs, books, broadcasts and podcasts are surging, driven by a desire to re-examine and re-assess our past, our present, and our future expectations regarding healthcare, education, economics, employment, governance and politics, public safety, systems of justice, and social equity.Challenges are being issued to map out change that could repair historic patterns that disrespect human aspirations, disempower the resourceful, distort values and disrupt progress.Assessment can systematically help us evaluate past performance and proactively aim for a better future. Assessment can be embedded in activities or interstitially placed at milestones, and might be encountered at any point during one's lifetime of effort.
Assessment might be formal or informal, objective or not, anecdotal or quantitative, estimated or precise. Whatever its process, assessment can be a vital part of lifelong growth and learning.
Big dataintrudes into our lives, our routines, our every actions, placing us in the crosshairs of assessment processes, sometimes for our benefit, sometimes perhaps not. We deserve to know that every data-driven assessment activity is the very best we can achieve for society and ourselves.Assessment...
opportunity for someone to demonstrate knowledge and skills.
provides personal empowerment backed by
evidence regarding what an individual might achieve.
credentials that may be required for particular social tasks.
can force someone to
reflect, appraise, and perhaps re-prioritize.
reconnoitering of one's current bearings, possibly motivating change in direction or even complete remapping to a new route to get to where one wants to be.
may suggest seeking
additional resources (family, friends, mentors, time, money, education) for help with tasks to reach one's goals.
insight into what is worth holding on to, e.g. particular beliefs, goals, values, knowledge, or skills. Also offers clues about what can be put aside, e.g. inessentials or distractions. Click here for New Jersey education activist Julie Larrea Borst 's op-ed that addresses 2020-21's challenges in education in New Jersey, and argues against standardized assessment.
The following reflection was inspired by the above-cited op-ed, and also is based on this website creator's second-career experience in education administration, teaching, and work as a test developer for standardized tests. The following reflective essay attempts to quite broadly address notions of learning and assessment.
Storytelling and apprenticeship are ages-old uniquely human strategies to convey knowledge, experience, and wisdom. How did education devolve to sage-on-the-stage lecturing that is one-way, and often relies on progressively more and more obsolete canned lessons accumulated by a teacher over years? Such widespread practice may seem to make a teacher's job easier. But coupled with a classroom's one-size-fits-all testing and grading that makes teaching a 24 x 7 job, this anachronistic strategy to motivate lifelong learners may be wasteful of teacher creativity and most students' time and emotional energy.
Predeterminate education is fundamentally inequitable and neglectful, since it fails to differentiate among learners, and does not fulfill education's responsibility to thoroughly and efficiently satisfy each individual's actual learning needs.
21st century education ideally would seamlessly integrate learning with just-in-time assessment that informs all stakeholders, and adds NO extra burden for students and for teachers. Both historic and modern assessments in a wide range of industries and applications have been so devised as to integrate assessment into the main process, with the assessment part rooted in reliable, well-formulated, carefully vetted, data-generating investigative questions. Such assessments, interleaved non-invasively using robust scientific or design methodology, can immediately detect and isolate deficiencies that require further work. In education, such assessments could enable a rapid non-tedious learning path that would propel individuals on to next steps, chapters, units, assignments, projects and ultimately, to desired learning outcomes.
Here are a few interesting examples of assessment with their collateral or coincidental consequences:
An employment policy periodically cuts 7% of the workforce under the assumption that hiring is complex and sometimes faulty, and it is easier to fix this later after an opportunity for on-the-job evaluations;
An HR practice is to dismiss terminated employees with nearly no warning and no transparency, prioritizing institutional integrity and the narrow finality of a particular assessment outcome, while perhaps ignoring the complexity of any situation, and also likely 'burning bridges';
A hiring practice relies on psychologically testing candidates, say for conformity with a select group of current employees, even though this may not adequately align with pursuit of the organization's overall goals;
Reported results of many standardized tests are not timely enough to impact current teaching and learning, which seems inconsistent with overall educational goals;
Education that is unable to consistently interleave assessment with instruction will miss the opportunity to truly empower both teaching and learning.
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