Three misconceptions about the separation of instruction and assessment

In a recent article in The EvoLLLution, David Schejbal pointed out some advantages of separating assessment from instruction. The argument, essentially, is that since quality assurance happens as learning is assessed, we can improve consistency by having assessments that don’t depend on an individual instructor’s particular points of view. This argument, predictably, generated some impassioned responses that illustrated some common misconceptions about separating instruction from assessment. I’d like to clear some of these up.

1. Great Instructors Are Great Assessors

We’ve all had great instructors who knew how to make a subject come alive. But that doesn’t make them great at knowing how to assess what students have learned in a way that provides useful information to others. They may do very well at seeing each individual’s growth over time, but when it comes to reliably and clearly indicating whether students have met objectives, they may be just as prone as anyone else to bias. For example, higher grades might go to students who tried really hard and made great advances, as opposed to those who slacked off but who came in knowing more — or their assessments might favor writing ability over thorough analysis…

Read Dr. Hoffman’s full article on Evolllution.

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