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Resources for Assessing Assessment


Howard Hoffman pic h045

Howard Hoffman, On Life: "Everybody has got to be someplace, but does this have to be it?"


Resources for Assessing Assessment
(listed in chronological order, as we read--or intend to read--or proposed reading!--them)

Spring 2011
Matt Richtel, Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction. The New York Times. November 21, 2010.

Katherine Hayles, “"How We Read: Close, Hyper, Machine" and "How We Think: Transforming Power and Digital Technologies (essays from a book forthcoming).

Peg Tyre, A’s for Good Behavior. The New York Times. November 27, 2010.

Annemarie Palinscar, "The Role of Dialogue in Providing Scaffolded Instruction." Educational Psychologist 21, 1&2 (1986): 73-98.

Dennie Wolf, Janet Bixby, John Glenn III, Howard Gardner. “To Use Their Minds Well: Investigating New Forms of Student Assessment.” Review of Research in Education, 17 (1991), 31-74.

Anne Dalke and Alice Lesnick, “Teaching Intersections, not Assessments: Celebrating the Surprise of Gift-Giving and -Getting in the Cultural Commons. Forthcoming in Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy

Dalai Lama. 'Training the Mind for Happiness.' The Art of Happiness.

The Faculty Take On Student Assessment.  Inside Higher Ed. June 15, 2011.

Paul Tough. “The Poverty Clinic: can a stressful childhood make you a sick adult?” The New Yorker. March 21, 2011.

Jessica Watkins. “No Credit, No Problem—Or Is It? The Bi-College News. March 24, 2011.

Lena Dalke, “Transforming Bilingual Education in New York City.” Unpublished Master’s Thesis. Bank Street College of Education. April 2011.

Proposed Readings for Spring 2012

Web portfolio instructions on Serendip
Four e-portfolios prepared by students in a Spring 2011 class on Gender, Information, Science and Technology:

Web Portfolio programs @ other colleges:
Web Portfolios: Demonstrating the Coherence of an Individual Major. St. Olaf College.
Writing Portfolio. The Writing Program. Carleton College.

"My Academic Rollercoaster":
...and the "Inexperienced Musings" from which it came:

Margaret Price, Mad at School: Rhetorics of Mental Disability and Academic Life. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2011.

An Active Mind, Seeing Stigma (Spring 2011), especially
Margaret Price's Mad at School: Rhetorics of Mental Disability and Academic Life.
More on Price's Mad at School
Thankful for Stigma?

Thomas Szasz. The Myth of Mental Illness: Foundations of a Theory of Personal Conduct. Revised Edition. New York: Harper Perennial, 1984.

Linda Powell, "The Achievement (K)not: Whiteness and 'Black Underachievement.'" Off White: Readings on Power, Privilege, and Resistance. 2nd edition. Ed. Michelle Fine, Lois Weis, Linda Powell Pruitt and April Burns. New York: Routledge, 2004. 3-12.

"Culture as Disability": /sci_cult/culturedisability.html

“On the Inevitability of Cultural Disabilities":

“Cultures of Ability”: /exchange/node/6267

John Humbach, "Towards a Natural Justice of Right Relationships." Human Rights in Philosophy and Practice, Ed. Burton Leiser and Tom Campell. August 27, 2001, 1-18.

  • "nobody is counting. In right relationships it is not tit-for-tat but the members' mutual and effective commitments to one another...." Even Aristotle weighs in here: "it is plainly impossible to pronounce with complete accuracy upon such a subject-matter as human action. For where the thing to be measured is indefinite the rule must be indefinite..."
  • rules must of necessity be written to provide for the general case, the most usual kind of case. Because of the infinite nuance of life, however, rules (and, hence, the rights they prescribe) often do not work well to meet the particularized, context-specific moral challenges that later arise. Indeed, one might say...the clumsy stiffness of abstract rules and rights almost always miss the moral mark."

Peter Elbow, "Ranking, Evaluating, and Liking: Sorting out Three Forms of Judgment." College English 55, 2 (Feb., 1993): 187-206.

  • we see around us a deep hunger to rank -- to create pecking orders: to see who we can look down on and who we must look up to
  • we do far more ranking than is really needed. We can get along not only with fewer occasions for assessment but also with fewer gradations in scoring
  • too much evaluation harms the climate for learning and teaching
  • When everything is evaluated, everything counts. Often the most powerful arena for deep learning is a kind of "time out" zone from the pressures of normal evaluated reality: make-believe, play, dreams-in effect, the Shakespearian forest.
  • reliability in holistic scoring is not a measure of how texts are valued by real readers in natural settings, but only of how they are valued in artificial settings with imposed agreements (perhaps the most important insight to me, and it accords with what we learned from The Poverty Clinic--the need to expand, not contract, the sphere of what's looked @)
  • If I like it, I can criticize it better. I have faith that there'll still be something good left, even if I train my full critical guns on it.
  • the secret of the mystery of liking: to be able to see potential goodness underneath badness….let's learn to be better likers
  • reward produces learning more effectively than punishment.

David Bornstein, Treating the Cause, Not the Illness. The New York Times. July 28, 2011:
training young volunteers to treat the social factors, like poor nutrition and housing, that make patients sick

David Brooks, The Unexamined Society. The New York Times. July 7, 2001.

Sendhil Mullainathan & Eldar Shafir, The Packing Problem: Time, Money, and the Science of Scarcity (book proposal).

Dean Spears, Economic Decision-making in Poverty Depletes Behavioral Control. CEPS Working Paper No. 213. December 2010.

John Holt, "School is Bad for Children." Rpted. from Saturday Evening Post, February 8, 1969: "We don't know now, and we never will know, how to measure what another person knows or understands. We certainly can't find out by asking him questions. All we find out is what he doesn't know - which is what most tests are for, anyway. Throw it all out, and let the child learn what every educated person must someday learn, how to measure his own understanding, how to know what he knows or does not know.

Marc Perry, Online Education Is Everywhere. What’s the Next Big Thing? The Chronicle of Higher Education. September 1, 2011:  "the next big thing" is structured AROUND student self-evaluating: the act of doing so actually determines the pacing of the instruction, and drives the course. and of course it's totally individual.

Eve Tuck. "Suspending Damage: A Letter to Communities." Harvard Educational Review 79, 3 (Fall 2009): 409-427.

Peter Schmidt. 2 Studies Raise Questions About Research Based on Student Surveys. The Chronicle of Higher Education. November 6, 2008.

Peter Schmidt. "Study Finds a Big Gap Between College Seniors' Real and Perceived Learning." The Chronicle of Higher Education. April 11, 2011.

Robert Sternberg. Classroom Styles. Inside Higher Ed. September 29, 2011.

Mike Neary. Student as Producer: A Pedagogy for the Avant-Garde. Learning Exchange 1, 1 (2010).





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