Monday, 16 October 2006

Assessment vs Creativity?

Sian's final questions in her comment to the previous posting opens up a huge issue of how to assess multi-faceted multimedia learning presentations
> Why should we expect learners to subsume their creative display of their learning into a pre-defined matrix set up by the e-portfolio at all? Shouldn't we rather be teaching them web skills to enable them to become confident builders and architects of their own web spaces?

Yes - absolutely. Part of the attraction of multimedia technology is the myriad creative choices that a designer can make. Any pressure from institutions to restrain this creative process is likely to also restrict learning potential.
However, unlimited opportunities to present learnings is likely to make assessment by pre-established criteria very difficult - and effective assessment is certainly a valuable aspect of education. There appears to be a conundrum: how does an institution allow freedom of creativity in presentation of learning, thus encouraging 'deep learning', without sacrificing the valuable and necessary benefits of effective assessment?

Prof. Stephen Heppell ( states these concerns clearly in his presentation of ideas for debate to the DfES on this very issue:
'Currently ..., despite many good intentions, our one-size-fits all assessment models seem to only offer convenience for our institutions and administration, whilst capping the ambition of learners and teachers alike. In the motorway of progress that our best schools, best teachers and best learners are embarked on, assessment is at best a chicane, at worst a bottleneck that brings them all completely to a halt. That won't do, will it? And of course the personalisation agenda has simply amplified the problems that assessment faces.'

It seems that to avoid constricting the creativity that current technologies enable learners to explore, institutions require more sophisticated systems of assessment, that can adequately value the ever-widening scope of media through which learners can currently present their work. Here lies a challenge more for the instutions and course designers, than for the learners themselves.

No comments: