1 st things first, I should explain my title--I want to continue the theme I began yesterday in the workshop I led around evidence and questions that matter, things that are significant, even essential, not marginal In today’s context, assessment matters refers to the substance I’ll be discussing, and also that assessment plays an essential role in learning community work, and that the way you approach it matters a great deal! A big part of why it matters has to do with “exploding minds”: I’m convinced there’s a real power in LCs done well, but what does that power look like, and what is its source?
Development: What We Talk About When We Talk About Learning William S. Moore, Ph.D. Policy Associate, Assessment, Teaching & Learning WA State Board for Community & Technical Colleges email@example.com 360-704-4346 National Learning Communities Institute June 2007
Basically, you learn two kinds of things in college:
Things you will need to know in later life (2 hours)…
Things you will NOT need to know in later life (1198 hours).
These are the things you learn in classes whose names end in ‘-ology’, ‘-osophy’, ‘-istry’, ‘-ics’, and so on. The idea is, you memorize these things, then write them down in little exam books, then forget them. If you fail to forget them you become a professor and have to stay in college the rest of your life. Dave Barry, 1981
“ Do you mean ‘really learning’ or ‘just learning’?” Student quoted in Bill Perry’s “Sharing in the cost of growth,” from C.A. Parker, 1978
‘ Real’ Learning as Transforming Understanding … Being able to repeat facts and plug numbers into formulae to get the right answers is handy, even essential. But it is not what education is fundamentally about… Learning should be about changing the ways in which learners understand, or experience, or conceptualize the world around them … Paul Ramsden
Set of 8 written & 3 pictorial documents related to the Battle of Lexington in the Revolutionary War
8 historians (4 specialists In American history, 4 not) & 8 high-achieving high school students asked to review materials, evaluate pictures, rank texts in terms of quality of sources for understanding the Battle of Lexington
Sam S. Wineburg, 1991 Findings: Able high school students can know a lot of history but still have little idea of how historical knowledge is constructed…What seemed to distinguish historians from students [in this study] was not [knowledge] but broader, more sweeping ways of knowing and thinking about historical evidence…
Why Does it Matter? Diversity, social problems, environmental issues, and the changing geopolitical situation all require minds that can grapple successfully with uncertainty, complexity and conflicting perspectives and still take stands that are both based on evidence, analysis and compassion and deeply centered in values. Craig Nelson, 1994
Explanations for Individual Differences in Learners
“… [For] providing students with opportunities to discover and refine their own powers…the first prerequisite is the student’s experience of being met …. If a model of development helps portray the successive shapes of students’ worlds, we can state a primary issue this way: what assessments, applications and contexts contribute toward such moments of meeting, and what distinguishes them from others that may detract from this potential?”
Opportunities for structuring and/or organizing those challenges
Encouraging students to take risks involved in new understandings
Opportunities for engagement with complexity & ambiguity
Diversity of material, questions, perspectives, ways of thinking, etc.
Balancing Challenge & Support
Whose Meaning Matters? Look! Do I sound crazy in saying that the students are the source of the meanings they will make of you? All right, so you feel you are making meaning for them; you know your subject matter, they do not. But it is the meaning they make of your meaning that matters! Obviously. Why am I shouting? After all, it is the meanings you make of my meanings that matter, and shouting will not help… William Perry, from The Modern American College , A. Chickering & Associates, 1981
Some Formal Perry Scheme Assessment Approaches
How Does Development Inform our Understanding of Learning?
Students have differing personal epistemologies, and these conceptions matter in terms of learning
‘Real’ learning is more about transformation than transmission
Both assessment and teaching approaches reflect and reinforce epistemologies
‘Real’ learning thus involves risk-taking and courage on the part of students
Hope & Loss: Development (Learning) Takes Courage … It may be a great joy to discover a new and more complex way of thinking and seeing, but what do we do about the old simple world? What do we do about the hopes that we had invested and experienced in those simpler terms? When we leave those terms behind, are we to leave hope, too? Bill Perry, 1978 “ Sharing in the cost of growth”