Is assessment needed?

assessmentDuring our last session, we had an interesting discussion: is assessment needed and in which form? How to make sure we don’t over-assess?

Assessment in education, defined as the process of determining whether students have attained curricular goals (Choppin, 1990), is something what seems to be mandatory. Since we are using a Learning Management System (Moodle) and teaching using Video Conferencing (Webex), my colleagues and I need to assess more. Ten years ago our students needed to sit one exam. Nowadays our students are assessed each lesson, are being evaluated (SAM) on their skills ànd have to sit one exam. Smells like over-assessment. But why? My opinion is that the main reason of these assessments is having proof for inspection. There seems to be a need for alternative assessment. Reeves and Okey (1996) claim that alternative assessment is absolutely required by constructivist learning environments, whether these environments are established in real world, classroom or virtual contexts. Their outcome is the Portfolio assessment.

In colleges more and more students run to courts to contents their grades. School boards require assessment and proof. Two years ago a student who didn’t pass (actually he failed on 12 of the 14 courses) wrote objection to the mayor (head of the school authority). Something school boards don’t know to appreciate.

But still… Every time one class graduates, they emphasize they want assessment. Meri mentioned it during the third session and she seems to be right. Students are better skilled when the had more assessment. The truth seems to lie midway.