A recent post on assessment by Professor Martin Weller has caused me to think about assessment differently. Though the idea of assessment as a navigation tool may not be new (assessment for direction?), it’s the analogy of a new subject as an “alien landscape” and assessment acting (can assessment act? ANT people may smile here) as a “map”, providing some semblance of direction that has caught my attention. It’s just one of those metaphoric moments that switches on one of those little light bulb in your head.
This brings me to the challenge I’m experiencing with a class of students who are sort of navigating an alien environment, to use the analogy. I’m teaching a group of social sciences (marketing, social work, public management, etc) students the “computer stuff”. They really don’t like this stuff and they complete assessments for the sake of it or perhaps you could say for their final grade. This is the daily story of many teachers.
So I am about to set a second test for this course and I think I will use the “map” as the object to guide the questions I ask.
But a number of other questions come to mind about the “map”.What does a map for this course look like? And to destination where? Do we need to dot the landscape with signposts (formative assessment?) and if so at what points? And should the learners help create this map as we together navigate this “alien landscape”? Maha’s idea of assessing the process, not he product comes to mind because “process” allows learners to map their way in an alien environment and without the usual worry of getting to the final destination (a grade).
And so I leave this post thinking about what I teach and what I learn as being part of an “alien landscape” and that a “map” could be a useful for navigation. But I also leave with questions about this map in my mind.