Have been doing a lot of reading recently and assessment is a theme that keeps recurring. Ewan McIntosh and David Muir both blog a recent talk by Stephen Heppell where he revisits the idea of assessment equivalence. I heard him talk on this theme some time ago and I don’t think that the idea that he is picking at is going to go away. Education in all sectors is immersed in written assessment. Exams and coursework require significant written output, which is fine if these are the desired learning outcomes. How do we approach communication and collaboration skills in today’s information age?
Heppell talks of podcasts and animation among others as examples of alternative ways of demonstrating learning. I think that they are all valid and to some extent society has recognised this in the past. Remember “A picture is worth a thousand words”? The huge difficulty for education is moving from the 19th century precept of writing to the 21st century reality of multi-modal exposition. Shana Albert has a handy comparison list of pre-web education versus web2.0 enabled education, however, a key element missing is assessment. Biggs talked of constructive alignment between outcomes, assessment and teaching. My feeling is that assessment is often misaligned but how do we change education to utilise the opportunities afforded it by the step change in information and communication availability? How do we change assessment and how do we change the assessors? Answers welcome!
[Einstein graphic used under a CC license with kind thanks to Arianne McCarthy http://www.flickr.com/photos/ariannemccarthy/513021005/ ]