Date of this Version
Published in Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council, Spring/Summer 2013, Volume 14, Number 1
Assessment has become a popular buzzword on academic campuses over the last few decades. Most assessment models are designed to evaluate traditional learning structures. If we were to state simply the process of assessment, it might read like this: a) what you want the students to learn; b) how you want to teach the material; c) how you know if the students learned the material. In a traditional pedagogical environment, for example, an instructor might want the students to learn how early geologists deduced the influence of glaciation in the Sierra Mountains from striations on polished granite surfaces. She would design a lecture that presents the information, and then she might create a test or project to find out whether the students retained the material in a useful way. One could argue that current assessment strategies are often designed to validate rather than assess traditional pedagogical practices, leaving little room for the development of teaching and learning practices that might radically deviate from the norm.