Nothing warms me up to assessment like alternative forms of assessment. I think I have a lot of company. In “The Alternative Assessment Paradigm Shift, M. A. Buhagiar,” I see hope for students and teachers everywhere who will find new assessment that is a learning activity rather than a static and punitive evaluation. Here is the heart-warming text I’m referring to:
“This theoretical shift away from ‘measuring’ learning and towards assessment that is explicitly designed to promote learning came primarily in response to our growing understanding of learning as a meaning-making process in which, contrary to our prior understanding that knowledge can be passed directly from one head to another, much depends on the learner’s constructions of his or her own experiences (40).”
This is part of a change in attitude, a paradigm shift, that is about more than assessment. It is more student-centered, but even more, it is real, authentic, useable, and alive, and may make it easier to reach students who “just never got math,” or thought that science was too hard. I have often heard people say, “I learn by doing, I can’t read a manual.” I am one of those people and though I love to read, I’m not as strongly a visual learner. There were not many options for kinesthetic learners in the distant 1960s when I was in elementary school and I might have been more excited about science if we experimented more, handled and created models.
So how does authentic assessment translate into a virtual world? Isn’t learning on the Internet even more removed from real life? This is an interesting problem to solve for me – how to make online learning and assessment authentic.