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Assessment, Assessment, Assessment!!

Updated: Feb 24, 2023

Nothing less stimulating to talk about than assessment. Assessment in whatever form is a required part of every conversation as an educator but also when you are learning. It is the buzzword most likely to make your eyes roll back. I have a coworker that loves assessment, I sometimes think she may be mentally ill.

Regardless of much research on the subject, assessment of learning is the standard by which most function. In Radiologic Science, our students are required to score a minimum of 75 in every course in order to progress to the next course. It is a test, it is always a test. At the end of our program of study, they take a national test which assesses if they were taught the bare minimum of what they needed to function in the profession. This is assessment OF learning. Have you demonstrated enough understanding in this particular area? It gives no information on the foundation of your learning or what you still may need to know or how to improve, just your level of understanding when you took the test. Highly ineffective to promote learning but used most often.

Assessment FOR learning establishes what your understanding may already be and gives you an opportunity to have feedback/feedforward to further that understanding. A more interactive approach and a much more effective means to increasing understanding. Where did you start, what did you learn, where do you need to go next. An important element being the "where do you go next". Getting the feedback and forming a plan.

Assessment AS learning puts the ownership of learning back onto the learner. This is when the student analyzes their own knowledge, foundation, challenges and tools and seeks their own path to understanding. It appears to be most worthy when the learner has a meaningful connection to the topic. They become self-driven by their own reflection and rigid evaluation of their understanding. Self-learners or autodidacts.

Thus far, in this ADL program, we are doing assessment AS learning. We have been encouraged to take ownership of our learning by making the decisions about what we will explore, introduce and disrupt our own programs with. I will say I have never been more engaged and motivated to flush out every corner that I can find for understanding. It really works because it has been about real discernment and not getting the grade. It is not easy to switch a lifelong attachment to "getting the grade" over to real understanding. I am adding more and more elements of assessment as learning to my own classroom because I am watching that transformation happen in myself and the new spark of love of learning that has happened.

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