Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Assessment, Accountability and Improvement - a paper by Peter Ewell

National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA) has published an occasional paper by Peter Ewell. I read an earlier version when I was at the Assessment Conference in Indianapolis in October, when I attended several sessions where Dr. Ewell discussed some of these ideas. The table below outlines two paradigms of assessment that represents two extremes along a continuum that represent tensions between improvement and accountability.

Assessment Portfolios are implemented somewhere along the continuum between those two paradigms. As I emphasized in an earlier blog entry,  the concept of Opportunity Cost should be considered here (what do we give up when we emphasize accountability or improvement based on these two paradigms of assessment?). How can we find a balance along the continuum between these two approaches? Here are some preliminary ideas for addressing the balance issues:

  • Use separate tools for assessment management and student e-portfolios?
    (Ball State’s rGrade & WSU’s Harvesting Gradebook)
  • Incorporate blogging and social networking tools for interactivity and engagement
    (Open Source Tools:  WordPress, Movable Type, Mahara)
  • Allow embedding student Web 2.0 links, including video, into their e-portfolios
  • Enable exporting e-portfolio to students’ lifetime personal webspace
  • Acknowledge the importance of both portfolio as workspace (process) & showcase (product)
  • Support student choice and voice in e-portfolios
  • Facilitate reflection for deep learning
  • Provide timely and effective feedback for improvement
  • Encourage student use of multimedia in portfolios for visual communication and literacy
    • Digital Storytelling & Podcasting
    • Picasa/Flickr slideshows
  • Acknowledge/Encourage students’ Web 2.0 digital identity

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