August 31, 2021

People (Re)Thinking Grading, Assessment, Evaluation

In addition to doomscrolling at Twitter during the pandemic, I also see so many great discussions happening around the #ungrading hashtag, along with discussions about assessment and evaluation. I am really glad that people are thinking about changing their approach to grading can help relieve some of the overwhelming stress that the pandemic brings with it. Rissa Sorensen-Unruh has been wrestling with the literature on assessment and evaluation, and started this thought-provoking Twitter discussion today:

I’m having a dilemma with words. Assessment & Evaluation are two very distinct concepts in my mind. Assessment is something we do to measure performance or learning. Evaluation is when we look at that assessment & try to hold it against some set of standards.

And I had to chime in with FEEDBACK because, honestly, I don't even think in terms of assessment and evaluation, but I think about feedback all the time: what feedback helps, hurts, etc., and also what are the best ways for instructors to provide feedback in the limited time available, how to design courses that make the best use of feedback, how to help students give good feedback to others, and on and on. Some more thoughts about all that here: Feedback Resources.

Here's my tweet back to Rissa :-)

for me, it is all about FEEDBACK.
assessment CAN include feedback.
evaluation CAN include feedback.
but, at least in my experience, neither assessment or evaluation have feedback as their primary focus. they serve bureaucratic needs instead.
yet feedback IS what learners need...