Our Motivating Questions
Howard Hoffman, On Life: "If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got."
Our particular interest is in the question of self-assessment and its relation to broader conversations about assessment at the College and beyond. We are motivated by questions each of us has about responding to:
- diversity of students
- the tension we perceive between nurturing thinking and evaluating thinking
- the difficulties grading poses to teaching and learning relationships
- the artificiality of grading as compared with the work of problem-solving and leadership ("What does the professor want?")
- the need to open students' minds to ways of working and valuing their work that go beyond standardized measures so potent in this era
These were some of the initial questions seeding our discussion:
- What is a range of useful ways to engage students in charting their learning goals and measuring their progress towards them?
- How might self-assessment assignments encourage students to integrate course goals with broader academic and personal interests of their own?
- What is the relation between students' self-assessing as individuals and sharing in joint course assessment, as in midcourse feedback?
- What is the relation between students' and instructors' work as assessors of student learning?
- What are the implications of this course-level inquiry for departmental and college-level assessment efforts?
- Can we experiment with this in good faith, given working within a competitive structure?