Higher Assessment

I find it strange when a blogger doesn’t approve my comment.

I consider comments the life blood of my own blog, and whether they be positive or negative, classy or rude, they all add to the diversity of the conversation. If your fragile ego can’t handle that, don’t blog.

I recently submitted a constructive comment to a particular blog post, twice, and it never eventuated. A later comment by someone else has.

Right, rather than waste my thought bubble, I’ve decided to reproduce the thrust of it here…

Looking up at Mannheim City Water Tower

The OP was about the future of Higher Education being modular and flexible, which I agreed with. However something that caught my eye was the author’s observation about the assessment of prior learning via an essay or exam defeating the point of documentary evidence of previous course content or work experience.

Yet I feel that assessment via an essay or exam or some other means is the point. We needn’t rely so much on the bureaucracy if we could simply demonstrate what we know – regardless of how we came to know it.

When accrediting prior learning, a university needn’t get bogged down with evaluating myriad external permutations that may be worthy of credit, because what matters is the outcome of those permutations.

Similarly from the student’s point of view, it wouldn’t matter if they’ve done a mooc but not paid for the certificate, or if they did a course many years ago and worked in the field thereafter. What matters is the knowledge they can demonstrate now.

As a bastion of education, the university is losing ground to external competitors. Yet it maintains a certain gravitas that I suggest can be channelled into more of an assessment-driven role for society, whereby it validates knowledge at a certain standard and awards its qualifications accordingly.

It’s role in teaching and learning is retained, of course, to fill in the gaps; powered by research to keep it at the forefront of the science.

2 thoughts on “Higher Assessment

  1. Yes! Even better than an essay is talking with the learner to find out what they know, understand and can do. However I think your point is that if learners are assessed via an essay at the end of a module, then why not get the learners to complete an essay at the beginning?

    However, TVET providers (and universities?) are increasingly encouraged by the NZQA to assess learners using ‘naturally occurring evidence’ collected on-job. I wonder if this could be the reason why there’s a focus on collecting workplace evidence for assessment purposes, particularly for micro-credentials or recognised prior learning.

  2. Cheers Jackie.

    Indeed, an essay might not be the appropriate assessment, depending on the nature of the knowledge being assessed. A conversation may be much more powerful, as I very well know when interviewing candidates for a job: they’ll memorise buzzwords, but a few minutes into a proper discourse, any pretence soon emerges.

    I think you’re right about the focus on evidence collected on-the-job. I think that’s commendable, by the way, but in the absence of any real-time demonstration of knowledge I feel it only partially achieves its objective.

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