terça-feira, outubro 26, 2010

Views: Why Are We Assessing? - Inside Higher Ed

Views: Why Are We Assessing? - Inside Higher Ed

The most important purpose of assessment should be not improvement or accountability but their common aim: everyone wants students to get the best possible education.
But even if we help faculty learn about research-informed pedagogies, do they have meaningful incentives to use them? Providing students with the best possible education often means changing what we do, and that means time and work. Much of the higher education community has no real incentive to change how we help students learn. And if there's little incentive to change or be innovative, there’s little reason to assess how well we're keeping our promises.

Our second common purpose of assessment should be making sure not only that students learn what’s important, but that their learning is of appropriate scope, depth, and rigor.

Our third common purpose of assessment is something we don't want to talk about, but it’s a reality that isn’t going away: it's how we spend our money. Actually, it's not our money. Every college and university is simply a steward of other people's money: tuition from our students and their families, funds from taxpayers, gifts from donors, grants from foundations. As stewards, we have an obligation to use our resources prudently, in ways that we are reasonably sure will be both successful and reasonably cost-effective. Here again, assessment is simply a vital tool to help us do this.

Now is the time to bring these three common purposes of assessment to the forefront. In order to tackle them, we need to work as a community, with greater and broader dialogue and collaboration than we see now. Now is the time to move our focus from the road we are traveling to our destination: a point at which we all are prudent, informed stewards of our resources… a point at which we each have clear, appropriate, justifiable, and externally-informed standards for student learning. Most importantly, now is the time to move our focus from assessment to learning, and to keeping our promises. Only then can we make higher education as great as it needs to be.