Assessment as a Map

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.



About lenandlar

Lenandlar Singh is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Guyana.
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6 Responses to Assessment as a Map

  1. Howard Scott says:

    Could it be that the map can be designed by the student(s) seeking their object, or constructed in the process of reaching their object (as opposed to the teacher)?

    • lenandlar says:

      That’s very much a student centered approach to sense making and learning. I certainly think student should be constructing this map as they go along.

      • Howard Scott says:

        I like this idea, in fitting with Heutagogical approaches to learning. Perhaps it works better with more mature (HE) students, but it allows for the ludic, personal and accidental happening to occur, which I think learning paradigms should take more account of when considering what ‘meaningful learning’ is to students.

      • lenandlar says:

        Would this approach be too much for students not yet considered mature or in HE? Could it possibly work in other contexts. I wonder

      • Howard Scott says:

        I work in post-16 ed in UK. Students should be more autonomous at that level, but not in the course I teach. My research based on this comparing adults and under-19s suggests adults are better placed for self-efficacy of learning.

  2. lenandlar says:

    Post-16 would mean post Olevels but pre-Uni? Sorry I am not sure how it works in the UK except for Uni.
    Wouldn’t the workings of this also dependent on strategies deployed by teacher/lecturer and other factors outside of the students?

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