Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Not sure if I have much to say about this particular story, but it definitely deserves mention here because of my "promise" to engage in questions about the A word in response to an excellent article by Dr. Crazy last month.

An article today in IHE asks the musical question Why are we assessing? (I know why we are -- our accreditor insists on it -- but that only begs the question.)

Sorry, nothing to see here for the moment. Well, not nothing. This particular observation

We now have a number of intriguing published instruments although, for many, evidence of their quality and value remains a work in progress.
from the article definitely deserves flagging. Are they really saying there is no "there" there? That no one knows if there is any value in the institutional effort we have started? Sure sounds like it.

Fortunately, we have a functioning system at our college so faculty have been given the lead to design assessments that make sense in each general area (composition, math, science, history, etc) and for different courses within that area. Agreeing on what is Really Important has been an interesting exercise, as has been the process of comparing how each of us might assess a particular item in our own courses. We don't often talk about tests, and different ways of testing or grading, so that has led to an interesting conversation that will continue for years.

I think what we are doing will have value to each of us, even if it proves worthless on a cross-institutional level to the ed bureaucrats.

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